‘Rabbi’s Journal’ Category

Rabbi’s Journal

November 15, 2012
By bethmordecai
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DAY 138: In memory of Cantor David Lavine z”l

Dear Hevreh, Psalm 31:13 נשכחתי כמת מלב הייתי ככלי אבד I am put out of mind like the dead; I am like an object given up for lost The sad news of the sudden passing of Cantor David Lavine z"l is a reminder to me of the gift and tenuousness of life.  Over the past couple of months, I spent a good time with Cantor Lavine preparing for the holidays, and though our relationship was a professional one, he was a big part of my life for my first few months at Beth Mordecai.  I would call him often, to plan our meetings in New York, discuss innovative ideas for services (we used some of his brainstorms in our service), and to practice the[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal
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Rabbi’s Journal

July 12, 2012
By bethmordecai
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DAY 12: Thinking about motivation…

Dear Hevreh, I'm sitting here in my office, practicing my reading for the Torah portion for this week (Parashat Pinhas), and I'm struck by a story that relates to something I was thinking about at the Board of Trustees meeting last night.  We were talking last night about finding volunteers for the High Holidays, and during that discussion I wondered...how do we motivate people to give up their precious free time and commit to helping our community?  I had a suspicion of what my answer was (and to be truthful, I've thought a lot about it over the years), and that suspicion was confirmed tonight while practicing the Torah reading: Motivation comes from feeling like we matter. In this week's Torah portion, the[...]

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

July 11, 2012
By bethmordecai
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DAY 11: Reflection on today (and yesterday)

Dear Hevreh, As I mentioned yesterday, I spent the day in New York City meeting with Cantor Levine, members, and mentors.  It was a whirlwind day of stories, advice, and information, but I left feeling one word...invigorated.  In other words, it was one of those days when you don't feel as tired as you do on other days, because you know you did something worthwhile, meaningful, and interesting.  Here are a couple of the snippets I learned that I posted throughout the day on Twitter via #PerthAmboyShul: From Cheryl August whose family has been affiliated with Beth Mordecai for generations:  No matter where she is, whether it's Italy or New York City, Temple Beth Mordecai is her spiritual home From Karen Klein whose[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal
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Rabbi’s Journal

July 10, 2012
By bethmordecai
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DAY 10: New York, New York!

Dear Hevreh, I am very excited because I am on my way to New York City today!  It'll be nice to step out onto the streets I called home for over a decade, but more than anything else, this trip is about a threefold commitment I am making to our community: 1) PROVIDING MEANINGFUL EXPERIENCES - This morning I will be meeting with Cantor Levine to start working on High Holiday services that are meaningful, spiritual, and relevant to our Jewish community.  These are the kinds of activities that get me very excited and I look forward to being part of a team (which can include all of you!) to provide high quality spiritual experiences.  I am psyched for the High Holidays[...]

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

July 8, 2012
By bethmordecai
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DAY 8: What’s the Point of Social Media? (Link to blog post)

Dear Hevreh, As promised, for those interested here is the blog post I wrote about Twitter, social media, and #PerthAmboyShul. What's the Point of Social Media? Talk to you at 5 or 6 pm :).  Enjoy your Sunday! Kol tuv, Rabbi Ari Saks #PerthAmboyShul  

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Social Media
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Rabbi’s Journal

July 6, 2012
By bethmordecai
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DAY 6 — Reflection on the week, looking forward to the future

Dear Hevreh, (NOTE: This email is a little longer)  Wow, I can't believe my first official week is almost over.  I've enjoyed every minute of it, even the little mundane stuff I need to do to put my office together.  However, my favorite moments of the week have been meeting and talking with people about their Jewish journeys.  I've been trying to do a lot of that, but I need to do more.  As I mentioned, it is my goal to meet with every willing member of the community to get to know you better, and I'd like to apologize in advance to all of those who I haven't called yet and who I won't call for awhile as I make my[...]

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Rabbi’s Journal

July 5, 2012
By bethmordecai
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DAY 5 — A Treasure Trove of Knowledge

Dear Hevreh, This afternoon, I had the honor of going with Elliot to the apartment of Sarah Omanson z"l, who passed away at the beginning of June.  Her nephew, Joel, was coming in on occasion to move her aunt's stuff from her apartment and he asked us to if we were interested in taking her collection of Judaica and Jewish books.  We obliged and this afternoon brought over five large boxes of Jewish books from her library!  These books keenly described a woman who moved from Brooklyn to Perth Amboy to become a librarian at Fort Monmouth for 35 years (1942-1979).  They epitomize a woman who wrote poems and short stories as a member of the International Society of[...]

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Rabbi’s Journal

July 3, 2012
By bethmordecai
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Day 3 – Reflection Inspired by Fireworks

Dear Hevreh, As I sat waiting for the fireworks at the Perth Amboy marina, I saw many kids running around, smiling, laughing, and falling.  I don't know what it is, but there is something about fireworks that brings out the kid in me.  The sound, the sight, the spectacle is just so magical.  My mind is mesmerized, my attention is arrested.  It's a moment that inspires. This afternoon, I met with Larry Deutchman at Panera in Woodbridge.  Among the many things we talked about was the importance of having a vision for where we want our shul to go.   A vision is not just a plan for the future, it's a code of belief that inspires us as we move forward.[...]

Category : Perth Amboy News Rabbi's Journal
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Rabbi’s Journal

July 2, 2012
By bethmordecai
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DAY 2 — Reflection on Wisdom

Dear Hevreh, Everyone is unique.  Today I met with two members of our community (Harriet Pearlman and Vardi Roy) and a colleague (Cantor Sheldon Levin from Neve Shalom in Metuchen).  Each meeting was different with incredible stories, insights, and teachings learned from different life journeys.  I did my best to listen, to learn, and to share my thoughts when appropriate.  It is amazing what wisdom we contain, if only we are open to sharing it and to listening to it. Tomorrow I am meeting with another colleague (Rabbi Ben Goldstein of Temple Beth El-Mekor Chayim in Cranford) and two more community members (Larry Deutchman and Scott Gursky).  I pray that I will be open to hearing their unique wisdom they to teach[...]

Category : Rabbi's Journal
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Rabbi’s Journal

July 1, 2012
By bethmordecai
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DAY 1 — Introduction from Rabbi Saks

To the Beth Mordecai community, Today is my first official day on the job as your new rabbi!  It's hard to imagine that this day has finally arrived after thinking about it for so long.  Yet, it's here and I am even more excited and energized to do this job than the day I took it.  With that excitement though comes a certain amount of nervousness because I want to make the community proud.  I'll be honest, I don't know exactly where this journey is going to take us.  There are many different possible endings.  Yet I believe that if we work hard at listening to each other and out of that listening we do what we can to help each[...]

Category : Beth Mordecai in the News Middlesex Jewish News Rabbi's Journal
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