‘Rabbi’ Category

Rabbi

December 18, 2020
By Beth Mordecai
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The Power of Dreams

• Shabbat Miketz 5781 • We find ourselves in the midst of the Joseph section of the book of Genesis. You know the story. Joseph, the second to youngest of 12 brothers, is sold into slavery for his annoying tendency to share his dreams which often depict him ruling over the family. As you might imagine there was some tension between Joseph and his siblings. Throughout the many chapters that cover Joseph’s life, there is one theme that runs throughout the story; dreams. Joseph’s tale begins with two dreams of his own followed by when he interprets the dreams of the cupbearer and baker in prison. This kindness ultimately saves his life where he is called up from captivity to share the[...]

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Rabbi

December 11, 2020
By Beth Mordecai
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The Right Person at the Right Time

Sometimes even the smallest interactions have the greatest impacts. This is one of the best lessons that my teachers have taught me about the rabbinate. One kind word, a friendly head nod or well placed hand shake can sometimes make all the positive difference in a person’s experience. Conversely, one sarcastic remark or perceived slight can produce quite the opposite effects. I suspect that we have each had moments when someone offered us a kindness and it made our day so much better.  We may never know who those people are but they become part of our story. Joseph experiences this phenomenon in this week’s parashah. Asked by his father to go check on his brothers, Joseph is unable to find them in the fields of Schem. Luckily[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi

October 16, 2020
By Beth Mordecai
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The Torah: A Blueprint for Creativity

There is a Far-Side cartoon that depicts God creating the world. In it, God is seen wearing an apron and chef’s hat surrounded by all of the necessary ingredients to create the world. Shaking a container labeled “Jerks” onto the Earth a thought bubble appears from God’s head that reads “Just to make things interesting”. The image of God as cosmic chef or maybe even mad-scientist is a common one. A little of this, a little of that and voila! The world! But is that how our tradition views the creation? How exactly did God know how to create the world? To some this may be obvious. God, being an omnipotent deity, simply knew that this was the way the world needed[...]

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Rabbi

October 9, 2020
By Beth Mordecai
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Torah is the Best Treasure

“Children, we have now Simches torah It's Simches torah all over the world Torah is the best treasure – At least that's what the rabbi says.” This verse, from a song entitled “Simches Toyre”, is a key to understanding just how joyous our final holiday of the season is.It is not simply an expression of our happiness that we get to begin the Torah from the beginning once again. Nor is it the release from a month of holidays, and eating, and praying, and eating that can cause some kind of ‘Jewish fatigue’ even amongst the most dedicated and committed among us. No. Simchat Torah is our opportunity, as a sacred community, to give honor to the core of our identity as a synagogue[...]

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Rabbi

October 3, 2020
By Beth Mordecai
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Well-Being in our Sukkah

Commencing just four days after Yom Kippur is the holiday of Sukkot. One of the names of the holiday is zman simchateinu, the time of our communal joy. But what exactly is the joy of sukkot? One of the leading experts in joy or happiness is a professor at Penn named Arthur Seligman. Seligman is noted as amongst the founders of the field of positive psychology, if not the actual progenitor of the field itself. His first book, titled “Authentic Happiness” laid out his theory in which he breaks down happiness into three elements: 1) Positive emotion 2) engagement and 3) meaning. The idea was that happiness is the highest goal of human living. Later though, Seligman’s thinking changed. In his[...]

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Rabbi

August 28, 2020
By Beth Mordecai
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Meet Rabbi Uri Allen

[caption id="attachment_10622" align="alignright" width="240"] Rabbi Uri Allen[/caption] Rabbi Uri Allen is a guitar-playing Abba of three who loves cooking, traveling around the country to see his favorite band Phish and learning Torah. His passions in the rabbinate are in educating and teaching learners of all ages, working with young families like his own, and using music to add contour and depth to Jewish rituals and life. Prior to coming to Beth Mordecai, he was a Rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom in Roslyn, NY and Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley, PA. Rabbi Allen received Rabbinic ordination from the ZieglerSchool of Rabbinic Studies along with an MA in RabbinicStudies from American Jewish University, an MA fromTel Aviv University in Jewish Thought in partnershipwith The Melamdim Teacher Training Program of theHartman Institute, and he is a[...]

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Rabbi


By Beth Mordecai
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When You Build a New House

This week’s Torah portion is Ki Teitze. It is a series of miscellaneous laws that Moses issues to the people in advance of entering the Promised Land. This set of laws is truly miscellaneous. They range in category from family law, to domestic laws, to returning lost objects and helping one’s neighbor. The parashah contains some agricultural laws about planting mixed fields and plowing with two different types of animals. There are marital laws, citizenship restrictions into the people of Israel, laws of conduct in wars, how to take a vow and the power that resides therein. Really the list goes on and on. It is a strange collection. Nevertheless, we seek out meaning in our Torah even from the what[...]

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Rabbi

August 14, 2020
By Beth Mordecai
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A Word From Rabbi Allen

UNITY THROUGH DIVERSITY Recently, I’ve been thinking about my grandfather, Harry Allen. It was his yahrzeit last week, so it makes sense, but in truth he has been on my mind. I’d like to tell you about him. Harry S. Allen was raised in Denver, Colorado, the child of immigrants from Marianpol, Lithuania.  Like many Jews of that time, they owned a store with their home in the apartment above.  Grandpa served in Europe during WWII as a navigator on B-24 bombers flying missions out of Italy.  He flew something like 50 missions and was awarded two purple hearts among other decorations and commendations. He used to remark about his choice to join the Air Force instead of the army, saying that[...]

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Rabbi

July 31, 2020
By Beth Mordecai
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Welcome Rabbi Allen!

Dear Beth Mordecai Community, On behalf of the Board, I am delighted to introduce Rabbi Uri Allen to the Beth Mordecai community! His energy, enthusiasm, spirituality, and new ways to connect with Judaism are warmly welcomed and we look forward to building a deep connection with him. In the next few weeks, Rabbi Allen will be reaching out by phone to each congregant. If you miss his call, he will leave a message (please make sure to call him back!). Also, please note that the rabbi will continue to reside on Long Island and commute to Perth Amboy, as needed. He will coordinate his trips to NJ to meet with members, conduct services and classes, and serve this community. Please be understanding of his time & schedule! Please[...]

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Rabbi

April 6, 2020
By Beth Mordecai
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Letter to the Congregation: Rabbi Metz Leaving Beth Mordecai in June

Dear Beth Mordecai Community Member, I hope this letter finds you and your families in good health and that you are finding your connection to Judaism and to our congregation a source of comfort during this difficult time. It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that Rabbi Sara Metz has accepted a position at Cong. Anshe Israel in Tucson, Arizona.  She will continue in her full rabbinical duties at Beth Mordecai through May 31.  Pending the lifting of quarantine restrictions, we will have a Friday night Shabbat service & dinner in June so all may personally wish the Metz family well in their next adventure! Please understand that the decision for the rabbi to search for alternate employment was solely[...]

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