‘Shabbat’ Category

Shabbat

February 7, 2014
By bethmordecai
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DAY 587: Sign Up Today For Homecoming and Bring Our Past Closer To Our Present

Dear Hevreh, In just a few days many of you will be receiving a thick envelope in the mail from the congregation, if you haven't already. This envelope is not your ordinary shul reminder. It does not contain a bill or a yahrtzeit letter or even a thank you note. No, this envelope constitutes a promise to remember where we came from as we move towards where we are going.   See, this envelope contains all of the information you will need about our upcoming Homecoming Weekend on March 14-16, including highlights (like our Schmooze Cruise and Brunch with Rabbis Barry Dov Schwartz and Melinda Zalma), scheduling, and registration forms. But more importantly, embedded within all of these details is the desire to bring our past closer to our present[...]

Category : Family Shabbat Homecoming Weekend Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat
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Shabbat

January 31, 2014
By bethmordecai
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DAY 580: Torah Can Only Be Acquired In Community

(1/31/14)  As we enter into another Shabbat, another opportunity to spend time together and learn together in community, I want to share a simple thought from the Talmud about the meaning of community:   אין התורה נקנית אלא בחבורה (ברכות סג:) Eyn ha-Torah nikneit ela b'havurah (B'rakhot 63b) The knowledge of Torah can only be acquired in a community (Tractate B'rakhot 63b)   There is something unique about the knowledge and secrets embedded in the Torah that, according to this teaching, they can only be revealed when we learn it together. Yes, learning Torah is a fascinating intellectual exercise for the individual, but it becomes something more, something larger, when we open ourselves to hearing the interpretations of other lovers of Torah. And if Torah learning is the foundation[...]

Category : Homecoming Weekend Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat
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Shabbat

January 24, 2014
By bethmordecai
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DAY 573: Reflecting On All That We Had Done

Dear Hevreh, One of the things I love about our Friday Night service is that in the midst of all the praying and teaching, we take a moment to check in with each other to see how our week has been. I love it because it gives us a chance to be reflective when most of the week we are too active to fully appreciate and realize what we are doing. It's pretty normal to not find time during the week to be reflective. Just ask God. On occasion God reflected during creation that what God created that day "was good," but it wasn't until the end of the sixth day - Friday night - that God looked back "on all that[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat
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Shabbat

January 10, 2014
By bethmordecai
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DAY 559: Shabbat Is Good

Dear Hevreh, I have one thought to leave you today. Shabbat is good, so let's share in all of the goodness of Shabbat tonight at shul! And to kick off the sharing of that goodness...enjoy this song by the great Shlomo Carlebach which we will sing tonight! Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Ari Saks Photo courtesy of http://www.vosizneias.com/post/read/41137/2009/11/03/new-york-yahrzeit-vin-exclusive-the-man-who-never-died-r-shlomo-carlebach-zl-interview-with-neshama-photos-music-video 

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat
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Shabbat

January 6, 2014
By bethmordecai
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DAY 555: The Purpose of Community

Dear Hevreh, There are many purposes for being a part of a Jewish community -- to build a social network of friends, to have a place to celebrate and honor lifecycle events, to learn about and experience the wisdom of Judaism, and to experience a connection with God among others. All of these purposes were on display this past Shabbat morning as more than 20 members of our extended community us braved the cold and the snow to help Rachel and I bentsch gomel after last week's accident. As Rachel shared with me later, more significant than the act of reciting gomel is the community that came out to make sure that we could recite gomel. It was a special feeling[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat
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Shabbat

January 3, 2014
By bethmordecai
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DAY 552: Needing to Feel the Light of Shabbat

Dear Hevreh, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel writes that Shabbat is a palace in time, a physical abode for the spirit in the hidden reality of time. In short, it's the home for our souls to feel safe and secure from the ravages of the world. This security is not brought on by by being surrounded by the creature comforts of physical things, but by being immersed in the aura of the spiritual realm in which our souls experience the light of God's love for all of creation. That godly light, which our souls transfer to our temporal bodies on moments like Shabbat, not only remind us of God's watchful presence in our lives but helps us experience God in a personal, intimate, and[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat
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Shabbat

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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Shabbat

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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Shabbat

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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Shabbat

November 8, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 496: Becoming Aware of Our Inner Shalom (at tonight’s White Out Friday Night)

Dear Hevreh, Each of us is capable of finding our own sense of "peace." Whether it's a relaxing walk, a good book, or perhaps even coming to shul, there are certain times when our minds are relaxed and our spirits are put at ease as we experience the calming effect of...peace. How do you find a sense of peace? Have you ever wondered why there certain moments, particular environments, or perhaps even encounters with people give you that sense of peace? How is it that at one moment our hearts, minds, and souls are full of restlessness but at the very next moment we can fill ourselves with love, as the sh'ma teaches us, and thus become aware of an overwhelming feeling of[...]

Category : Rabbi's Journal Shabbat White Out Friday Night
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