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A Bisl Torah

Unsettled


We’ve recently moved. Our family feels blessed that our children will create memories in this beautiful home. The kids have claimed their spaces, started decorating their rooms, and seem to forget they lived anywhere else. Our home has become more than a dependable place. My husband and I breathe a sigh of relief when we walk through the door. As if the confusion and horrors of the outside can’t possibly penetrate our inner sanctum. The mental game we play with ourselves is perhaps one many of us choose to enter: if we just close the curtains and turn off the…

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Shielding the Pain


My son has a custom of wearing his swim goggles in the bathtub. He figures if the goggles keep out the water in the pool, they must keep out the soap in the tub. Somehow, no matter how hard we try to protect his eyes, a few bubbles always seep through. With the recent information in Los Angeles about online schooling and continued rise of Covid cases, it is difficult shielding our children from the onslaught of news. My husband and I carefully determine when and where we will speak about world events, but our children have questions, curiosities, and…

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Opting Out


I am going to take the liberty of my Bisl Torah space to write about terms that are being thrown around in an unfortunate way: “opting out” or “taking a break”. In choosing whether or not to belong to a synagogue or support nonprofit institutions, many are deciding to take a “year off” and consider rejoining the following year. Jewish professionals across the world are reaching out to colleagues and peers, understanding that if enough people decide to opt out, the Jewish world that once was, will never look the same. The Jewish world that once was, will not have…

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Lessons from the Delivery Man


The world is heightened with emotion. When someone sneers or complains, it can feel like a snag at the soul. When someone smiles or offers a kind word, the gesture extends far beyond that moment. With the onset of the pandemic, like many of you, my online ordering has hit an all-time high. Groceries, household supplies, activities for the kids…Amazon is pretty much my only visitor these days. I was surprised to see that on one of the boxes, the Amazon delivery man left a sweet message: “Happy Independence Weekend, Be Happy, Sincerely, Your Delivery Driver, Edgar!” Could very well…

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Do you like your name?


What kind of name do you hope to gain in this world? Are you known as a leader, thinker, doer, source of compassion, gossiper, kvetcher, change maker, well of goodness or blessing? The Midrash tells us that when God desired to create the first human being, God consulted the angels. God asked, “Shall we make human beings?” They responded, “What will they be like?” God said, “Well, their wisdom will be greater than yours.” How did God prove it? God assembled all of the animals and asked the angels to name them. The angels were perplexed. But the first human,…

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The Time Capsule


When we were kids, my siblings and I created a time capsule. We put in pictures of ourselves, favorite phrases and sayings of 1989, magazines and newspapers, and a list of the books we enjoyed reading. And we included letters to ourselves, declaring what we wanted to be when we grew up and grand plans for the future. Who knows exactly where that time capsule is now…I am not sure if it even matters. It feels special looking back, remembering what felt important to freeze in time, wondering what our 30 something year old selves would say to their childlike…

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Tales of Gardening


Our family decided to plant a garden. For those that know me, I am not a gardener. I enjoy purchasing roses of different colors and displaying the beauty on our Shabbat dinner table. But as we determined ways to spend our time at home, gardening seemed like a way to distract our minds from the confusion and chaos of the outside world. Some sunflower seeds. A ton of soil. Water each day and a bunch of sunlight. Each day, my family walks by our little patch and remarks on the status of the seedlings. Sometimes, the greenery seems wilted, other…

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I’m really ready


When your child is in zoom school, the silver lining is watching them participate in class. The last few days, the kindergarten practiced their end of the year song, belting out: The future’s lookin’ good to me. I’m ready to go! I’m ready to go! Yeah, the future’s lookin’ good to me. I am ready as I can be. My time has come. I’m on my way. I’m really ready. This is the day. I worked so hard to make it so. Now I’m ready. I’m ready to go! Tears formed when I heard my son repeat the words…I’m really…

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Just listen


When we watched the rocket launch last week, my son remarked, “I wonder if the rocket is going to meet God.” His curiosity has been with me all week. From beyond our own atmosphere, what kind of view does God have of earth? A blurring of reality, unable to differentiate between those who hate and those who are hated or a world in which human beings speak so loudly over each other, it is impossible to identify anything past the buzzing of ego and self-righteousness. I am not sure which view is better. My sense is that if God is…

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Am I Live?


In this virtual programming world, there’s a new question many of us ask without realizing it: Am I live? We say this phrase in the context of whether or not the entire world can see us online. These words transition us from authentic beings to whomever we want the camera to see; whichever piece of our lives we’re ready to reveal. Hair brushed, makeup on, smiles big…going live doesn’t necessarily mean the online world sees the reality of our living world. We present what we want to present; not always showing what’s really taking place beyond the screen. And yet…

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