‘Rabbi’s Journal’ Category

Rabbi’s Journal

December 10, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 528: Reflecting on a Special Day

Dear Hevreh, I don't know about you, but I'm still kind of "floating" from the Rubber Duck Race on Sunday. More than the revenue it raised, this event brought our community together to work together, to have fun together, and to bond together. All of these elements are needed to build a dynamic, robust, and exciting community and they were all on display this past Sunday. Whether it was re-situating our table and spreading out within the YMCA to sell more ducks, or playing duck-duck-goose (and then duck-duck-barvaz) to pass the time, or simply wearing a yellow "Duck Handler" t-shirt to show our pride in doing this event together, we displayed the kind of work ethic and joy that makes our community[...]

Category : Rabbi's Journal Rubber Duck Race
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Rabbi’s Journal

December 8, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 526: Grateful for This Ducky Moment

Dear Hevreh, Perhaps the most significant feeling that religion tries to cultivate is the feeling of gratitude. While we cannot control everything that happens in our lives, and at times we may feel like destiny/the universe/God is out to get us, Judaism constantly reminds us to hodu ladonai ki tov, ki l'olam hasdo -- Give thanks to God for God's love endures forever. Coming off of Thanksgiving, with its religious origins, and Hanukkah, we are also reminded at this time of year how to be grateful at the miraculous nature of our lives. Indeed, gratitude is so central to our faith that we have a prayer for the simple purpose of sharing our gratitude for being alive in this moment: Barukh Atah Adonai[...]

Category : Rabbi's Journal Rubber Duck Race
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Rabbi’s Journal

December 6, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 524: The Joy of Rubber Ducks…and Water!

Dear Hevreh, I have yet to fully experience it as a father, but I've heard that there is nothing like the joy of a kid playing with his or her rubber duck in a bathtub. If you need any proof of this, just askErnie from Sesame Street. The smile that lights up on a child's face as their little toy floats on this incredible source of life substance we call "water" is priceless. In fact, it is probably the echo of this joy that inspired the popularity of Rubber Duck Race fundraisers like ours on Sunday beginning around 3 pm at the YMCA of Raritan Bay (357 New Brunswick Avenue). Rubber Ducks and water just go really well together. We'll[...]

Category : Rabbi's Journal Rubber Duck Race Shabbat
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Rabbi’s Journal

December 3, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 521: Publicizing the Miracle of Hanukkah to Family, Neighbors, and Fellow Jews

Dear Hevreh, Last night, I had one of the most memorable Hanukkah experiences of my life as I celebrated the Festival of Lights with my family, my neighbors, and my Jewish community. It wasn't that one particular moment stood out (though I really enjoyed sharing the story of Hanukkah with 3rd and 4th grade Perth Amboy students), but rather that the overall experience of lighting the candles with so many groups of people truly exemplified the meaning of the mitzvah of pirsumei nisah, of publicizing the miracle of Hanukkah. The rabbis teach us that the purpose of lighting candles is to share the miracle with everyone around us, which is why we are supposed to light the candles as early as[...]

Category : Hanukkah Middlesex Jewish News Perth Amboy News Rabbi's Journal Rubber Duck Race
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Rabbi’s Journal

December 2, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 520: The Magic of Hanukkah…and Ducks!

Dear Hevreh,   Yesterday, our community celebrated the Festival of Lights in style with latkes, doughnuts, lighting of candles...and magic! A fun and engaging magician, the Great Scott, made us laugh and left us amazed with his sleights of hand and knowledge of the magical arts. The show was not only entertaining, but got me thinking about how magic relates to our relationship with God.    How can we sense God's presence in our lives? If the Bible is our guide, then the clearest way for God to appear in our lives is through the performance of "magic" -- miracles like splitting a sea or getting water from a rock. These events, which cannot be explained by reason, have ingrained in us the sense that when[...]

Category : Hanukkah Rabbi's Journal Rubber Duck Race
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Rabbi’s Journal

November 29, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 517: The Meaning of Love

DAY 517: The Meaning of Love   V'ahavta et Adonai Elohekha                     וְאָהַבְתָּ אֶת ה' אֶלֹקֶיך              You shall love the Lord Your God (Deut 6:5)   V'ahavta L'reiakha Kamokha                         וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעָךָ כָּמוֹך         You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Lev 19:15)   Dear Hevreh,   Love is one of the most powerful words we have at our disposal -- just ask any couple how the first time they said "I love you" to one another changed their relationship forever. Whether it's through our own experience or through our culture, we are quite aware of the emotional power of love. Yet, in addition to[...]

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Rabbi’s Journal

November 15, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 503: Responding to Typhoon Haiyan — The Desire and Limitations of Our Care

"In a situation like this, nothing is fast enough. The need is massive, the need is immediate, and you can't reach everyone."-  Max Roxas, Interior Secretary of the Phillipines "The international community needs to resist the urge of the savior syndrome, to come in and think they can duplicate the structures [of aid], can do better, can do without the government [of the Phillipines], because that will only worsen the response."- Sara Pantuliano, Head of the Humanitarian Policy Group at the Overseas Development Institute "A time of disaster is a time to help others. It is not a time to think only of self and forget others. It is a time to console and embrace our neighbors. It[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat
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Rabbi’s Journal

November 14, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 502: That Special Kehillah Feeling

Dear Hevreh, As some of you may have already seen on Facebook, the synagogue has renewed my contract which means that I will continue to be your rabbi for at least the next 2-3 years (and hopefully longer!). Rachel and I are both very excited about staying here at Beth Mordecai and in Perth Amboy, primarily because the community has embraced us with open arms. From the services to the parties and all of the special events that bring us together, our kehillah, our community, makes us feel right at home. The word kehillah is so important. It comes from the root k-h-l meaning "gather" or "congregate." In other words, the heart of what makes a community a community is[...]

Category : Rabbi's Journal Shabbat Uncategorized
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Rabbi’s Journal

November 13, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 501: A Request on Behalf of My Shul That’s About More Than Just Raising Money

DAY 501: A Request on Behalf of My Shul That's About More Than Just Raising Money                                           For today's entry, I want to share with you a letter I crafted to family and friends to ask for their support in buying a duck for a rubber duck race (see below). While it was important to describe the event, I felt it was also important to share with them why this event is so meaningful to me. I don't expect that everyone will agree with my motivations, but by hearing my personal story I hope that people will understand that this[...]

Category : Rabbi's Journal Rubber Duck Race
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Rabbi’s Journal

November 10, 2013
By bethmordecai
no comments.

DAY 498: Discovering Our Potential With Partners

Dear Hevreh, After God created Adam in the second chapter of Genesis, the process of creation seemed to be complete. Yet as God looked around at all the beauty that was created, God turned to Adam and realized that creation was not complete: "Lo tov heyot adam l'vado -- it is not good for man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). And thus God created Adam's partner, Eve. It's as if God realized that the only way for humanity to fully enjoy and take advantage of all the potential imbued in creation is when we have partners to work with us because it's not fun to do things alone. Today is all about partners. From 1-5 pm today at JFK hospital in Edison, our community[...]

Category : Rabbi's Journal
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