‘Rabbi’s Journal’ Category

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 [...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal
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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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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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