‘Rabbi’s Journal’ Category

Rabbi’s Journal

November 4, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 492: Organizing Through Stories

Dear Hevreh, As many of you know, I have been on a personal campaign since I started as your rabbi to meet with every member of the congregation. These meetings aren't simply to say hi and introduce myself, but rather an opportunity to hear the stories that matter most to you - the stories of your upbringing, of your family, and if your Jewish journey. Stories have been a big part of my rabbinate as you can see here, here, and here, and the process of meeting people one on one to hear your stories is a method of building community that was reinforced during the community organizing training I was apart of last week at JTS. The idea[...]

Category : Rabbi's Journal
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Rabbi’s Journal

November 3, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 491: This Is How It Starts…One Simhah At A Time

Dear Hevreh,   Today is a wonderful day because for the first time in recent memory, we welcome a teenage Bar Mitzvah boy and his family to mark this wonderful occasion for their family in our community. By partnering with the Hebrew Corner, a non-denominational Hebrew School run by Cantor Avima Darnov, we connected with Lyle and Robin Sandler who were searching for a venue to host the bar mitzvah of their son, Ben. After many conversations and opportunities for the Sandlers to experience our community (including participating in our Unique High Holiday Experience on the second day of Rosh Hashanah), they agreed to host this wonderful simhah in our Jewish home.   Being a part of the Sandlers' simhah is a wonderful privilege for our congregation and it[...]

Category : Bar and Bat Mitzvah Bar Mitzvah Rabbi's Journal Rosh Hashanah Youth Education
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Rabbi’s Journal

October 8, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 465: The Importance of Feedback To Knowing What Works

Dear Hevreh, We are still less than a month removed from our High Holiday celebrations as a community, and I hope you are still feeling some of the positive effects of those days together and that they helped make the wisdom of a Jewish tradition come alive for you. I've already heard a good amount of positive and constructive feedback from you on the content and the process of those days, yet in order to make the lessons from those days stick throughout the year, and in order to improve the overall experience of the holidays every year, it is important to know more. That is why this week I will continue to listen to anecdotal feedback through private conversations and[...]

Category : Holidays Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Rosh Hashanah Yom Kippur
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Rabbi’s Journal

October 1, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 458: Numbers, Holidays, and Crafting a Special Sauce

Dear Hevreh, On Kol Nidre, I challenged our community to build something special that will last. Yet if we are truly going to build something special then throughout this process we must identify the ingredients that will go into our "special sauce." Identifying these ingredients will require opportunities for us to come together on an individual and communal basis to share our Jewish passions with one another, which means that one of the key indicators for knowing that we are on our way to crafting our special sauce is how successful we are at coming together and showing up at schul. Enter Exhibit A...Holiday attendance. I'm not talking about the High Holidays, but rather the joyous holidays of Sukkot, Sh'mini Atzeret, and Simhat[...]

Category : Rabbi's Journal Sh'mini Atzeret Simhat Torah Sukkot Yom Kippur
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Rabbi’s Journal

September 25, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 452: 5 Reasons to Love Torah

Dear Hevreh, 5 Reasons I love Torah....       #1 -- Every time I look at a piece of Torah, I find something new I never found before      #2 -- Just looking at the letters as they drip with tradition and Godliness is a spiritual experience      #3 -- Who knew that dancing with a scroll could be so much fun?      #4 -- It grounds me, and reminds me to serve a higher purpose greater than myself      #5 -- Recognizing that Torah does not only live in a book; it lives in our hearts, as our own Unique Torah   What are some of the reasons YOU love Torah? What are some of the ways that Torah lives in YOUR heart?    Come join us to explore those questions, and to have a fun[...]

Category : Holidays Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Simhat Torah
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Rabbi’s Journal

September 24, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 451: Hakafot, Yizkor, and Anxiety

Dear Hevreh, As I sit at my desk trying to think about how to describe our upcoming celebrations of the holidays of Sh'mini Atzeret and Simhat Torah, I'm struck by a particular thought. Judaism is a religion that thrives on anxiety. Now bear with me, for a moment -- we just celebrated the High Holidays which is a period of serious reflection as we consider the aspects of our character that we'd like to work on for the following year. Yet Rosh Hashanah is supposed to be a joyous holiday, and Yom Kippur is considered to be a Shabbat Shabbaton, the greatest of all Sabbaths, and no one would mistake Shabbat for a sad occassion. The juxtaposition of the solemnity[...]

Category : Holidays Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Rosh Hashanah Sh'mini Atzeret Simhat Torah Yom Kippur
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Rabbi’s Journal

September 23, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 450: Finding Meaning (and Vulnerability) in Turning On My Car’s Ignition

Dear Hevreh, I could be mistaken, but I don't think many of us find the act of starting our cars a meaningful moment in our day. For those who drive regularly, it is a mundane occurrence that we don't think about (until that inopportune moment when our cars won't start). Yet there I was, sitting in my car on Friday morning, about to turn on the ignition and feeling lots of butterflies in my stomach as if I was walking into a room full of teenagers. All of a sudden, a simple act that I have done countless times in my life became a spiritual test, full of meaning. Why was this ignition start different than all other ignition starts? Because this[...]

Category : Holidays Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Sukkot
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Rabbi’s Journal


By bethmordecai
no comments.

DAY 450: Finding Meaning (and Vulnerability) in Turning On My Car’s Ignition

Dear Hevreh, I could be mistaken, but I don't think many of us find the act of starting our cars a meaningful moment in our day. For those who drive regularly, it is a mundane occurrence that we don't think about (until that inopportune moment when our cars won't start). Yet there I was, sitting in my car on Friday morning, about to turn on the ignition and feeling lots of butterflies in my stomach as if I was walking into a room full of teenagers. All of a sudden, a simple act that I have done countless times in my life became a spiritual test, full of meaning. Why was this ignition start different than all other ignition starts? Because[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Sukkot
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Rabbi’s Journal

September 18, 2013
By bethmordecai
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Rabbi’s Journal

September 17, 2013
By bethmordecai
no comments.