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A Bisl Torah

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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Smile harder


You’re never fully dressed without a smile. About two weeks ago, we received the notice that adults and children over age two are advised to wear masks outside. It’s an emotional experience to put a mask on your child, normalizing a walk around the neighborhood with the donning of protective gear. But the hardest part wasn’t enacting a safety precaution. I’ve come to take for granted the smiles people offer when they see children playing. Those smiles are sometimes smiles of parental commiseration, smiles of shared joy over simple pleasures, smiles of neighbors living vicariously through the innocence of little…

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Mama said there’ll be days like this


“Mama said there’ll be days like this, There’ll be days like this, mama said. Mama said there’ll be days like this There’ll be days like this, my mama said.” I think the Shirelles were referring to that lovesick feeling many of us get when thinking about our crush. The butterflies, the nervous giggles, an inability to focus on anything else. Or the aching for something we don’t yet have. These same lyrics reverberate as we wander through these endlessly long days. Interminable days that fold into an uncontrollable time that ironically feels like a run-away train. Such odd, strange feelings….

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You sound like Grandma


In our new morning routine, I play the role of Henry’s teacher from 8:30-9:30am. We color, build, garden, learn letters and do puzzles. In a way, this hour serves as my respite from the outside world. For a few minutes, his silly mannerisms and eagerness help me gain hope and faith in what’s to come. We all need a little push to begin our day and he nudges me in the right direction. As Henry was coloring, I said something about his picture. I honestly don’t remember what I said. But he looked at me and exclaimed, “That’s exactly what…

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Stop and see the roses


Look at so many Facebook and Instagram posts. You will see picture after picture of people’s gardens, patches of wildflowers discovered on someone’s walk, and roses. So many roses. As part of our new family quarantine rituals, we go on evening strolls. The streets of Los Angeles feel like the streets of Jerusalem. So many people walking, biking, leisurely taking in the sounds of chirping birds and children laughing. We spend many of these walks staring at the roses that line the streets of Westwood. White, red, yellow, pink…roses that may have always been there but roses we feel like…

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It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint


Admittedly, I am not the runner in our home. My husband loves exploring the different routes of Westwood, coming back filled with awe over what sites he passed and how much further his feet took him. I smile, knowing the run energizes his day while I am just as happy drinking my second cup of coffee. But lately, I think my husband has the better strategy. Experts are using the phrase, “This is a marathon, not a sprint.” Meaning, many of us ran straight forward, double espresso in hand, feeling as if this quarantine time was conquerable. How many loaves…

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Endless Summer


It is not easy reframing this situation for young children. It is hard to explain why they can’t hug their grandparents, go on play dates and see their teachers in person. It is even harder encouraging them to cross the street to avoid other pedestrians, reporting that Disneyland is closed, and explaining why we stay home to protect the health of friends, family and strangers. Words like “corona”, “death” and “sick” are starting to emerge in daily conversations. Erez and I are trying to instill within our children feelings of gratitude without instilling within them perpetual feelings of fear. Their…

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A Passover Reflection


Connection permeates walls. Connection permeates restrictions. Connection permeates boundaries. Connection permeates screens.   Love breaks through distancing. Love breaks through dropped calls. Love breaks through empty chairs. Love breaks through closed doors.   Embrace exists through open hearts. Embrace exists through chosen words. Embrace exists through acts of kindness. Embrace exists through memories of yesterday and hopes for tomorrow.   Community is reciting “Mah Nishtana?” Community is calling the lonely, seeking out the pained. Community is looking past our wants, discovering someone else’s need. Community is the voice of one, singing the song of many.   Faith is knowing that…

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A Passover Reflection


Connection permeates walls. Connection permeates restrictions. Connection permeates boundaries. Connection permeates screens. Love breaks through distancing. Love breaks through dropped calls. Love breaks through empty chairs. Love breaks through closed doors. Embrace exists through open hearts. Embrace exists through chosen words. Embrace exists through acts of kindness. Embrace exists through memories of yesterday and hopes for tomorrow. Community is reciting “Mah Nishtana?” Community is calling the lonely, seeking out the pained. Community is looking past our wants, discovering someone else’s need. Community is the voice of one, singing the song of many. Faith is knowing that we have been here…

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