‘Rabbi’s Journal’ Category

Rabbi’s Journal

September 16, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 443: Savoring that Refreshing Feeling

Dear Hevreh, I feel a sense of newness, perhaps even a lightness of spirit, after the Yom Kippur we just celebrated together. I'm not sure if it's specifically because of this year's experience, or if it happens every year (and I just don't remember much about last year!), but regardless it's really a refreshing feeling, one which I will savor as long as I have it. It's refreshing because it gives me a sense of gratitude for what we just accomplished. From the hallowed Kol Nidre to the final Avinu Malkeinu and shofar blast, this Yom Kippur was truly an inspirational experience. There are many people I want to thank for their participation and volunteerism (you can see the list at the[...]

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

September 12, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 439: Forget What Divides Us, Remember What Unites Us

Dear Hevreh, Yesterday I had the privilege, in my role as a chaplain in Perth Amboy's Police Chaplain Corps, to participate in a service honoring the victims and heroes of the September 11th attacks twelve years ago. One of the themes that came up often during the Scripture readings and prayers by my fellow chaplains was the need to be unified and, more specifically, that we are stronger when we affirm that which keeps us together than when we focus on what pulls apart. It's not always easy to be unified when you know there are certain, important differences that make each one of us a unique creation by God. Yet by recognizing that we all are unique creations by God, that[...]

Category : Perth Amboy News Rabbi's Journal Yom Kippur

Rabbi’s Journal

July 5, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 370: The Unity of Fireworks

Dear Hevreh, Yesterday, I went up to Hoboken to view the fireworks. The city has become a popular place for July 4th over the last few years because of it's proximity to the colorful display of joy over the Hudson River; popular to the tune of 40,000 spectators according to a local event staffer. As I waited for the show to begin, it struck me how many people from different races, religions, creeds, and ethnicities were gathered together peacefully for one (viewing) purpose... An Indian family lying out on a blanket to my right trying to remain comfortable during the long wait A Hispanic man standing next to me asking me to hold his spot while seeking out a better view [...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal
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Rabbi’s Journal

May 31, 2013
By bethmordecai
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gDAY 335 (Part I): Cantor Showcase — The Gifts We Give and The Gifts We Receive

Dear Hevreh, Who doesn't like exchanging gifts? Who doesn't like the excitement of opening up a box full of mystery and opportunity -- is it a toy? a book? a piece of jewelry? The anticipation of ripping through that wrapping paper can be thrilling, even if it's just for a moment. Yet there is also the other side of gift giving: the trepidation that we didn't get the right gift. As a giver, we are anxious to not disappoint our loved one with our gift-choice, and as a receiver, we are cautious that our reaction may hurt the feelings of the giver. From personal experience I can tell you that I've felt these disparate emotions -- excitement and trepidation -- at the[...]

Category : Cantorial Showcase Rabbi Rabbi's Journal
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Rabbi’s Journal

May 8, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 312: Balancing Bigness and Uniqueness

*Note: This message is a little longer than usual   Dear Hevreh, כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה Kol Yisrael arevim zeh lazeh All of Israel is responsible for one another An important area of my job that I am working on is learning how to balance -- how to balance my personal and professional lives, how to balance speaking up versus staying quiet, and how to balance spearheading a small institution while participating in a larger Jewish community. The health of our community, in our programming, in our relationships, and in our participation, can only be strengthened by being a part of the larger Jewish community. This is why we have spent great effort to participate in communal activities like the Purimcarnivaland the [...]

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Rabbi’s Journal

March 7, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 250: Being An Active Jewish Home for the Soul

Dear Hevreh, Last night, over a dozen members and friends of Beth Mordecai gathered for our third holiday cooking class with the wonderful folks of tABLEhealth. We made a delicious alternative to the usual gefilte fish appetizer, yummy vegetables that stole the show, and a quinoa salad that displayed the creativity of Passover cooking. Check out updates from last night's cooking class on my twitter feed of @Ari_Saks Yet just as significant as the activity of the program was the activism of our community after the program. People started talking, conversed, and exchanged phone numbers to discuss future programs -- trips to New York, fun day activities, long term projects for the synagogue. That activism comes on the heels of a[...]

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

January 29, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 213: The Memories That Bind

Dear Hevreh,   Wow, what an event on Sunday! Safran Hall was packed with members of Perth Amboy's Jewish community from both near and far to celebrate the completion of Perth Amboy's Jewish Community: History, Memories, Tribute. In addition to enjoying delicious cookies and coffee prepared by our own Ann Blog, we learned about the twelve year process that went into making this special book. As author Mona Shangold said, one of the primary purposes of the book is to have a written record of the vibrant, exciting, and full Jewish life enjoyed by so many people so that their descendants could have an insight into where they came from.   Here are some great pictures from the event!   Yet more than just a trip down memory lane, this[...]

Category : Blast from the Past Rabbi Rabbi's Journal
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Rabbi’s Journal

January 11, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 195: Our People, Our World

*Note:  This messsage is a little longer than usual* Dear Hevreh, A brief glimpse into any moment Jewish history reveals that we have been pulled by two, often opposing, poles -- towards our connection with our people and towards being a part of the greater society.  As such one of the tenets of Conservative Judaism that makes me a Conservative Jew, is that we can be both -- we can be good Jews and good members of society. Two upcoming events for our community clearly demonstrate our commitment to this belief. 1) Super Sunday Phone-a-thon for Jewish Federation of Middlesex County, this Sunday 1/13 8:30 am -- 2:00 pm; 5:30 pm -- 9:00 pm We have always been a people of small numbers, yet we[...]

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

December 9, 2012
By bethmordecai
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DAY 162: Hanukkah @ Barnes and Noble

Dear Hevreh, Well, it's official.  Beth Mordecai has successfully invaded Barnes and Noble!  In partnership with PJ Library of Middlesex Federation and Barnes and Noble of Menlo Park, we had a wonderful event with crafts, songs, and Hanukkah stories.  There were 7-8 families who had their kids take part in the event (for a total of around 10 kids), many of whom are currently unaffiliated.  One family is already planning on coming to the Hanukkah party and another expressed great interest in our Hebrew School program called Project Jewish Living.  We will be following up with the families in the next couple of days, but most importantly we provided them with a positive Jewish experience that[...]

Category : Events Hanukkah Kidz Korner Rabbi Rabbi's Journal
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Rabbi’s Journal

November 19, 2012
By bethmordecai
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DAY 142: The Gift of Conversation

Dear Hevreh, This afternoon I had the pleasure of spending some quality time with Reverend Ann-Marie Jeffrey, the spiritual leader of St. Peter's Episcopal Church, our partner institution for tomorrow (Tuesday) night's Interfaith Thanksgiving service @ 7 pm @ Beth Mordecai (REFRESHMENTS INCLUDED!).   While we spent part of the time working on the finishing touches of our innovative service for tomorrow, we spent the majority of time just...talking.  We talked about our calls to service, about the Bible, about the afterlife, about the nature of religious institutions, and so on and so forth.  It was a wonderful conversation because for a moment the daily grind of emails, phone calls, and obligations disappeared.  For a moment the mundane was replaced by the[...]

Category : Perth Amboy News Rabbi Rabbi's Journal
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