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A Bisl Torah

Teach Them Well


Last night my daughter asked me to fix something in her room. I looked at her and said, “Honey, I have no idea how to fix that. We’re going to have to call someone else to do it.” Wide-eyed she looked back with bewilderment. “Mommy, how will the person fix it?” And I repeated, “I have no idea, but they’ll know what to do.” She concluded the conversation with, “But mommy, just tell me…you know everything.” And my heart sunk. I understand that developmentally, my kids are supposed to think that adults hold all wisdom and truths in the palm…

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Change it Up


For three days, we lost the television remote control. Now don’t worry, we do have a television in a different room of the house but the lost remote is to the main set. We searched: behind the couch, under the table, in the laundry baskets, near the toys. The remote was nowhere to be found and while each of us shared bitter words (no Daniel Tiger today? No Cupcake Wars?)…something magical began to happen. It was quiet. We played more games after dinner. Books were read. The crutch of the television disappeared and we relied on each other for instant…

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Relax


Sometimes we just need a break. A beautiful resource came across my desk: Dr. Leonard Felder’s “More Fully Alive~ The Benefits of Using Jewish Wisdom for Responding to Stress and Overload.” Instead of going over the next item on my to-do-list, I flipped to the page entitled, “Enjoying Mini-Sabbaticals Each Day and Each Week.” Dr. Felder suggests that in order to experience a Sabbath-like feeling during the week, we should schedule “phantom clients” in our calendar. He writes, “What’s a Phantom Client? It’s the name of someone who doesn’t really exist but by putting a realistic name on your calendar…

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We Are Happiest When…


Of all advice given to parents, I think the wisest is the following: You are only as happy as your unhappiest child. I don’t take this to mean that we should dissolve in tears when our children feel pressured by everyday bumps. A skinned knee or a C- in math may be hard to bear but are easily categorized as moments of potential growth. Band-Aids and a late-night dessert remedy most childhood ailments. It’s when our loved ones experience true, raw, seemingly unbearable heartache that causes those closest to them to feel intense helplessness and insecurity. Rejection, shame, violation, illness,…

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Privacy Please


It is a difficult balance to respect one’s privacy and still feel engaged in someone’s life. Social media has taught us to record and display each moment, significant or not. We learn about the meaningful occasions like when a baby is born or when someone gets married. But the mundane also clutters our newsfeed: which restaurant someone has tried for the first time and what someone is eating for breakfast is common information. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat instruct us to share, post, emote, and bare all. It is a wonder when someone chooses to hold back information. “Not airing…

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Stand By Me


While the news was breaking about the horrific events in Nice, France (how many more times will I need to write a sentence like that?) Sinai Temple opened her doors and prayed with the community. All colors, all creeds, all faiths…dancing and singing and hoping that for a few hours, the fear of the stranger would transform into acceptance of the other. Our law enforcement swayed, arms linked with African-American gospel preachers. And we sang the following: When the night has come And the land is dark And the moon is the only light we’ll see No I won’t be…

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Do You Feel Helpless?


Do you feel helpless? Every day we are barraged with a disregard for life, a reckless destruction of humanity. Why are human beings so egotistical to determine when and where life should cease? No human being should fear another; God should be the only determinant of when life begins and when life ends. Psalm 121 reads, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills; from where does help come? Help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” A raw, anguished cry for help, the Psalmist searches for answers from heaven above. Today, our voices echo the Psalmist….

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Are You an Owner or a Renter?


I recently sat with a Jewish professional and she challenged me to think about those phrases: do those that take part of our faith communities see themselves as owners or renters? An owner is a stakeholder. Someone that sees value in defining the mission of the synagogue, setting achievable goals, volunteering, planning events, all of which assists the clergy person in holy works of engagement. A renter floats. A renter stops in, partakes in a service or two but doesn’t see himself as someone that wishes to invest time, money or effort. A renter sees the synagogue as a “place”…

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