‘Rabbi’s Journal’ Category

Rabbi’s Journal

October 1, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 458: Numbers, Holidays, and Crafting a Special Sauce

Dear Hevreh, On Kol Nidre, I challenged our community to build something special that will last. Yet if we are truly going to build something special then throughout this process we must identify the ingredients that will go into our "special sauce." Identifying these ingredients will require opportunities for us to come together on an individual and communal basis to share our Jewish passions with one another, which means that one of the key indicators for knowing that we are on our way to crafting our special sauce is how successful we are at coming together and showing up at schul. Enter Exhibit A...Holiday attendance. I'm not talking about the High Holidays, but rather the joyous holidays of Sukkot, Sh'mini Atzeret, and Simhat[...]

Category : Rabbi's Journal Sh'mini Atzeret Simhat Torah Sukkot Yom Kippur
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Rabbi’s Journal

September 25, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 452: 5 Reasons to Love Torah

Dear Hevreh, 5 Reasons I love Torah....       #1 -- Every time I look at a piece of Torah, I find something new I never found before      #2 -- Just looking at the letters as they drip with tradition and Godliness is a spiritual experience      #3 -- Who knew that dancing with a scroll could be so much fun?      #4 -- It grounds me, and reminds me to serve a higher purpose greater than myself      #5 -- Recognizing that Torah does not only live in a book; it lives in our hearts, as our own Unique Torah   What are some of the reasons YOU love Torah? What are some of the ways that Torah lives in YOUR heart?    Come join us to explore those questions, and to have a fun[...]

Category : Holidays Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Simhat Torah
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Rabbi’s Journal

September 24, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 451: Hakafot, Yizkor, and Anxiety

Dear Hevreh, As I sit at my desk trying to think about how to describe our upcoming celebrations of the holidays of Sh'mini Atzeret and Simhat Torah, I'm struck by a particular thought. Judaism is a religion that thrives on anxiety. Now bear with me, for a moment -- we just celebrated the High Holidays which is a period of serious reflection as we consider the aspects of our character that we'd like to work on for the following year. Yet Rosh Hashanah is supposed to be a joyous holiday, and Yom Kippur is considered to be a Shabbat Shabbaton, the greatest of all Sabbaths, and no one would mistake Shabbat for a sad occassion. The juxtaposition of the solemnity[...]

Category : Holidays Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Rosh Hashanah Sh'mini Atzeret Simhat Torah Yom Kippur
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Rabbi’s Journal

September 23, 2013
By bethmordecai
no comments.

DAY 450: Finding Meaning (and Vulnerability) in Turning On My Car’s Ignition

Dear Hevreh, I could be mistaken, but I don't think many of us find the act of starting our cars a meaningful moment in our day. For those who drive regularly, it is a mundane occurrence that we don't think about (until that inopportune moment when our cars won't start). Yet there I was, sitting in my car on Friday morning, about to turn on the ignition and feeling lots of butterflies in my stomach as if I was walking into a room full of teenagers. All of a sudden, a simple act that I have done countless times in my life became a spiritual test, full of meaning. Why was this ignition start different than all other ignition starts? Because this[...]

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


By bethmordecai
no comments.

DAY 450: Finding Meaning (and Vulnerability) in Turning On My Car’s Ignition

Dear Hevreh, I could be mistaken, but I don't think many of us find the act of starting our cars a meaningful moment in our day. For those who drive regularly, it is a mundane occurrence that we don't think about (until that inopportune moment when our cars won't start). Yet there I was, sitting in my car on Friday morning, about to turn on the ignition and feeling lots of butterflies in my stomach as if I was walking into a room full of teenagers. All of a sudden, a simple act that I have done countless times in my life became a spiritual test, full of meaning. Why was this ignition start different than all other ignition starts? Because[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Sukkot
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Rabbi’s Journal

September 18, 2013
By bethmordecai
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Rabbi’s Journal

September 17, 2013
By bethmordecai
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Rabbi’s Journal

September 16, 2013
By bethmordecai
no comments.

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
no comments.

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
no comments.

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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