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July 13, 2016
By bethmordecai
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Be A Shabbat by the Sea Season Supporter TODAY!

Do you love Shabbat by the Sea? Do you want to share it with as many people as possible? Then become a Shabbat by the Sea Season Supporter!   For only $50 a person you can ensure that our community will have a wonderful experience by the bay and enjoy a delicious meal together – sometimes catered, sometimes pot luck – without the hassle and discomfort of charging people to come to our program. With your support we will never have to turn someone away from enjoying the full Shabbat by the Sea experience while also helping us attract new people to our community. For your support you will receive… A special thank you letter Your name (or a name of a family[...]

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July 1, 2016
By bethmordecai
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DAY 1461: It’s My Fault There’s No Fireworks Tonight

Dear Hevreh, It's my fault that fireworks are not happening tonight. One of the organizers asked me to pray that rain would not fall tonight, and though I did offer a prayer, it didn't help; the weather forecast is too inclement for the fireworks to happen tonight. They've been rescheduled for tomorrow and I hope the organizer doesn't ask me to offer a prayer for those fireworks - I don't want it to backfire. Before you write me a note saying "to not take your prayers so seriously" or that "you really didn't cause this," just know that I wrote the previous paragraph with the proverbial tongue in my cheek. I recognize that prayer doesn't necessarily work in that way we most[...]

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June 23, 2016
By bethmordecai
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DAY 1454: What the Cavaliers NBA Championship Teaches Us About Empathy

Reflection on the Cleveland Cavaliers winning the NBA Championship and our upcoming Shabbat by the Sea experience on Caring for One Another... Dear Hevreh, I confess that I was very excited when the Cleveland Cavaliers ("Cavs") won the NBA championship on Father's Day. Why is this something I have to confess to? Because I'm not a Cavs fan, I'm a Sixers fan. More to the point, I'm a Philadelphia sports fan and it surprised me that cheering for the Cavaliers to win on Sunday night felt somewhat like cheering on one of my Philly teams win. It was odd, because a part of me thought that I should not feel that way, that no team winning a championship could (or should) feel[...]

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June 17, 2016
By bethmordecai
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DAY 1448: Dads Don’t Babysit, It’s Called Parenting

The following is a preview of a conversation this Shabbat morning in honor of Father's Day... Dear Hevreh, I'm not sure how to celebrate Father's Day. Though this will be my third Father's Day as a "father," I don't quite know how to approach the significance of this day. It it supposed to be a "ho-hum" day with the highlight being the giving of gag gifts and the telling of dad jokes? Or is it supposed to be something more significant where the role of a father is appreciated in a way analogous to (though not the same as) the way that Mother's Day is celebrated as a High Holiday on our secular calendar? I guess this question of how[...]

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June 8, 2016
By bethmordecai
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June 2016 Bulletin Message — Does a Ringing Telephone have to be so Annoying?

If something is important, it contributes to your mission, your values, your high priority goals...if we don't have a clear idea of what is important, of the results we desire in our lives, we are easily diverted into responding to the urgent. (Stephen Covey, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, p. 151)   [The Sabbath] is a day on which hours do not oust one another...the seventh day is like a palace in time with a kingdom for all. It is not a date, but an atmosphere (Heschel, The Sabbath, p. 21)   Have you ever noticed that a telephone ring is really annoying? I don't know about you, but whether it's a traditional ring, a screaming ringtone, or a gentle buzz, it doesn't[...]

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May 25, 2016
By bethmordecai
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DAY 1425: The Mitzvah of Smiling

Reflection on this weekend's Scholar in Residence Weekend -- From Being Jewish to Doing Jewish: Deepening Our Jewish Identities מָֽה־אָשִׁ֥יב לַיהוָ֑ה כָּֽל־תַּגְמוּל֥וֹהִי עָלָֽי׃ How can I repay unto the LORD All His bountiful dealings toward me? (Psalm 116:12) Dear Hevreh, Smiling. It's one of the most important things we can do, but also one of the hardest. We smile when we're happy, laughing, and enjoying our experience, but too often we walk into life's moments with a skeptic's frown; we demand that others impress us before rewarding them with a smile of acceptance. As a rabbi looking out at a congregation on Shabbat morning or during the holidays, the task of turning a skeptic's frown into a believer's smile can be daunting. If[...]

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May 18, 2016
By bethmordecai
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DAY 1418: Feeling Our Inner Yid

The following is the first of three journals previewing this weekend's Scholar in Residence Weekend -- From Being Jewish to Doing Jewish: Deepening Our Jewish Identities. Today's installment focuses on the Friday night program around "being Jewish." Dear Hevreh, Chances are that if you're reading this message, there's been at least one seminal moment in your life when you either felt a connection to being Jewish, or (if you don't identify as Jewish) you developed an appreciation for what Judaism has to offer. In other words, regardless of our particular experiences, we share a universal feeling of the importance of whatever-it-is-that-we-call-"Jewish." Our weekend's scholar Rabbi Porath will spend some time on Friday night helping us articulate and appreciate these seminal experiences of being/feeling[...]

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May 13, 2016
By bethmordecai
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DAY 1413: It’s All Planted Within

*Note: this message is a little longer than usual   Dear Hevreh, At the onset of the this week's triennial Torah reading of Parashat K'doshim (Leviticus 19:23-24), we read... כג  וְכִי-תָבֹאוּ אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, וּנְטַעְתֶּם כָּל-עֵץ מַאֲכָל--וַעֲרַלְתֶּם עָרְלָתוֹ, אֶת-פִּרְיוֹ; שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים, יִהְיֶה לָכֶם עֲרֵלִים--לֹא יֵאָכֵל. 23 And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as forbidden; three years shall it be as forbidden unto you; it shall not be eaten. כד  וּבַשָּׁנָה, הָרְבִיעִת, יִהְיֶה, כָּל-פִּרְיוֹ--קֹדֶשׁ הִלּוּלִים, לַיהוָה. 24 And in the fourth year all the fruit thereof shall be holy, for giving praise unto the LORD. It seem a little odd that the Israelites would not be able to eat food they just planted in the[...]

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May 12, 2016
By bethmordecai
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DAY 1412: On Israel and Shepherding

"I was a shepherd in Africa...now I shepherd Jewish people to Israel" - paraphrase of Dr. Avraham Neguise, Likud Member of Knesset and Chairman of Committee on Immigration, Absorption, and Diaspora Affairs Dear Hevreh, Israel has always held a special place in my heart. Between college and rabbinical school I took five trips to Israel and after each one my appreciation and love for the miracle of the Jewish State only increased. I even contemplated making aliyah at one point until I felt commanded to serve the Jewish people and religious life in America. This story is not new - many non-Israeli Jews feel a call to join the Jewish project in Israel, yet for one reason or another find[...]

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May 6, 2016
By bethmordecai
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Scholar in Residence Weekend May 20-22, 2016 – All the details you need to know!

Congregation Beth Mordecai  Presents our FIRST Scholar in Residence Weekend May 20 – 22, 2016 From Being Jewish to Doing Jewish: Deepening Our Personal Jewish Identity with   Rabbi Jonathan Porath Scholar, Teacher, Writer, Community Leader and Cantor Rav Bronwen Mullin Cantor, Rabbi, Artist, Playwright   Click here for our introductory letter and sponsorship cut-out Click here for a PDF of the schedule listed below Click here to see our Facebook event page FRIDAY, MAY 20th 7:00 pm – Musical Service featuring Cantor Rav Bronwen Mullin ~ singing              ~ dancing ~ inspirational teachings ~ great music 8:00 pm – Delicious Dairy Potluck Shabbat Dinner with presentation by Scholar in Residence (SIR) Rabbi Jonathan Porath: Nurturing Our Jewish Hearts and Jewish Souls: Opening presentation of evocative[...]

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