‘Rabbi’s Journal’ Category

Rabbi’s Journal

May 25, 2016
By bethmordecai
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Rabbi’s Public Journal

RABBI'S PUBLIC JOURNAL -- Follow Rabbi Saks' rabbinic journey as he leads Beth Mordecai to become an active and passionate Jewish home for the soul... Read his public journal HERE!

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Rabbi’s Journal

May 18, 2016
By bethmordecai
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DAY 1418: Feeling Our Inner Yid

The following is the first of three journals previewing this weekend's Scholar in Residence Weekend -- From Being Jewish to Doing Jewish: Deepening Our Jewish Identities. Today's installment focuses on the Friday night program around "being Jewish." Dear Hevreh, Chances are that if you're reading this message, there's been at least one seminal moment in your life when you either felt a connection to being Jewish, or (if you don't identify as Jewish) you developed an appreciation for what Judaism has to offer. In other words, regardless of our particular experiences, we share a universal feeling of the importance of whatever-it-is-that-we-call-"Jewish." Our weekend's scholar Rabbi Porath will spend some time on Friday night helping us articulate and appreciate these seminal experiences of being/feeling[...]

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Rabbi’s Journal

May 13, 2016
By bethmordecai
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DAY 1413: It’s All Planted Within

*Note: this message is a little longer than usual   Dear Hevreh, At the onset of the this week's triennial Torah reading of Parashat K'doshim (Leviticus 19:23-24), we read... כג  וְכִי-תָבֹאוּ אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, וּנְטַעְתֶּם כָּל-עֵץ מַאֲכָל--וַעֲרַלְתֶּם עָרְלָתוֹ, אֶת-פִּרְיוֹ; שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים, יִהְיֶה לָכֶם עֲרֵלִים--לֹא יֵאָכֵל. 23 And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as forbidden; three years shall it be as forbidden unto you; it shall not be eaten. כד  וּבַשָּׁנָה, הָרְבִיעִת, יִהְיֶה, כָּל-פִּרְיוֹ--קֹדֶשׁ הִלּוּלִים, לַיהוָה. 24 And in the fourth year all the fruit thereof shall be holy, for giving praise unto the LORD. It seem a little odd that the Israelites would not be able to eat food they just planted in the[...]

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Rabbi’s Journal

May 12, 2016
By bethmordecai
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DAY 1412: On Israel and Shepherding

"I was a shepherd in Africa...now I shepherd Jewish people to Israel" - paraphrase of Dr. Avraham Neguise, Likud Member of Knesset and Chairman of Committee on Immigration, Absorption, and Diaspora Affairs Dear Hevreh, Israel has always held a special place in my heart. Between college and rabbinical school I took five trips to Israel and after each one my appreciation and love for the miracle of the Jewish State only increased. I even contemplated making aliyah at one point until I felt commanded to serve the Jewish people and religious life in America. This story is not new - many non-Israeli Jews feel a call to join the Jewish project in Israel, yet for one reason or another find[...]

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Rabbi’s Journal

May 6, 2016
By bethmordecai
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DAY 1406: Dialoguing with Torah

Reflection on this Shabbat Morning's Torah Talk with a special kiddush sponsored by Harriet Pearlman who is moving to Minnesota to be closer to family.. תלמוד תורה כנגד כולם Talmud Torah k'neged kulam The Study of Torah is greater than everything else (Mishnah Peah 1:1) Dear Hevreh, We yearn for our actions to be purposeful, efficient, and relevant, to take advantage of every second we have in this world because there are too few to spare. It may be ironic then that the study of ancient Jewish texts is perhaps, as the quote above teaches us, the most important thing we can do as Jews, yet on the surface, studying Jewish texts is an inefficient, laborious, task to delve into topics[...]

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Rabbi’s Journal

May 4, 2016
By bethmordecai
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DAY 1404: Never Forget, Time to Support our Survivors

Reflection on the beginning of Yom Hashoa, Holocaust Remembrance Day, beginning tonight with a program at the JCC at 7:30 pm... Dear Hevreh, Some of you may have already seen the email shared with our community, or the article I wrote in the New Jersey Jewish News on the subject, but right now there is a great need in our larger Jewish community to support our Holocaust survivors. Yes, we need to help our survivors because their stories are invaluable, their presence is precious, and their sacrifice is too great to articulate. But even more so, we need to help them because they have done so much to help us. Earlier this November, during one of our parlour meetups,[...]

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Rabbi’s Journal

April 28, 2016
By bethmordecai
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DAY 1398: Jewish Wisdom is Informative

Dear Hevreh, If you think sometimes we struggle to get a minyan, you should come by the New Jersey Veterans Home. Every other Tuesday I go with Sherry Webber and other members of the community to the Veterans Home near Menlo Park Mall to talk and learn with Jewish residents. Usually about 4 or 5 come to the meetings and though we often find these meetings interesting and engaging, we often talk about the challenge of getting other Jewish people in the Home to join us for our sessions (sound familiar?). Yet there we were, only two days ago, in a room full of thirty residents and staffers exploring the wonders of the Passover Seder. By Veterans Home Chaplain Jan Koczera's[...]

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

April 27, 2016
By bethmordecai
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DAY 1397: The Passover Seder – The Illusion of Order and the Reality of Chaos

The setup of our Seder last night. The calm before the storm (lol) - Scott Gursky Dear Hevreh, Our tables are set with an expected order. Forks on the left with the salad fork on the outside; dishes stacked to reflect the order in which we will eat; and the wine and water glasses neatly arranged for ease of use and aesthetic value. An immaculately set table is abeautiful sight to behold but it's orderly beauty is set in contradistinction the wonderful chaos and life of a meal. Spilled drinks, table banging, loud children noises, interrupted conversations, and bellowing laughter make meals -- especially large Seder meals -- an incredibly messy, but beautiful, experience to have.[...]

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

April 22, 2016
By bethmordecai
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DAY 1392: Springtime for Passover?

Dear Hevreh, Well, Passover is here. Whether you're having a Seder with 30 of your "closest" friends and family, being a guest somewhere new, having a quiet Seder for just the two of you, or choosing to not celebrate, the holiday has arrived. We mark it with food, with conversation (and debate, of course), but most of all we mark it as a milestone of the year. No matter how Jewish we feel or what kind of Jewish we do, we are aware of Passover's arrival. But why is that? Perhaps because it is at the onset of Spring. With weather warming, flowers budding, wardrobes changing, and snowbirds returning, the Spring forces us through its sheer will to take notice[...]

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

April 15, 2016
By bethmordecai
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DAY 1385: Alertness is the Hidden Discipline of Familiarity

Reflecting on an On Being podcast featuring David Whyte... "Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity" - in "Everything is Waiting for You" by David Whyte Dear Hevreh, Imagine that noise has disappeared. You sit or stand without the reverberations of the world around you. Are you scared, elated, or confused by the weight of silence? We must imagine a world full of silence because our lives are not silent; they are a messy mixture of noise and actions. And even when there are opportunities to be still, we cannot. We mindlessly click on our phones when nothing else is going on, reflexively hoping to fill that silence some useful action. Yet what if we can find a way[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat
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