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A Bisl Torah

Selectively Silent


I underestimate the value of silence. As a student, I used to think silence was a sign of weakness. If you don’t raise your hand, you clearly don’t know the answer. But years later I realize that just because you speak more or interrupt in a conversation, you are not necessarily any brighter than those that hold back. More and more, I admire those that are selectively silent.

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Happy Birthday to Israel


On Tuesday night, Sinai Temple made shakshuka with Danny Corsun and Zoey Corsun of Culinary Judaics Academy. The evening was a cooking celebration in honor of Israel’s birthday. Shakshuka is a well-known Middle Eastern dish, often served in Israeli homes and restaurants for breakfast or lunch. Peppers, tomatoes, harissa, za’atar, eggs and an assortment of other spices, the dish does not disappoint. But it’s spicy and strong. A mishmash of flavors all trying to get a word in. Ingredients you wouldn’t necessarily put together but somehow, stand out on their own and combine to make the most beautiful dish.

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Stop Worrying


One of my supervisors at the Maple Counseling Center reminded me that the brain doesn’t distinguish between anxiety and excitement. That sometimes when we look forward to a new chapter of our journey, enthusiastic anticipation is clouded by our practiced reflex to first, worry. Is it a survival mechanism? Perhaps. But do we let worry inhibit our abilities to experience the beauty of this world? Yes, way too often.

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Training Wheels


We took the training wheels off of Henry’s bicycle. He hasn’t perfected his riding skills with the training wheels, but he insisted. Henry wants to ride like the big kids and didn’t hesitate jumping on as soon as the wheels were removed.

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A Bisl Passover


We often forget that the season of Pesach is considered a Jewish New Year. As we should expect, Rosh Hashana gets a lot of attention. But Rosh Hashana invokes teshuvah, a time for introspection, forgiveness and actively trying to change a trait or repair a relationship.

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Hide n’ Seek


My daughter insisted that our family play hide n’ seek. I’m not a big fan of the game. Kids stealthily waiting to jump out at you, closets in shambles by the end of the game, and each child wanting multiple turns. When Annie requested hide n’ seek, I countered with Bananagrams. Unsurprisingly, 30 seconds later, I began to hide.

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Planting A Seed


One year ago, I was comparing the plagues of the Passover story to the plague of Covid-19. But this year, I don’t want to focus on the plagues. Instead, I want to focus on how I can make this seder night different. Mah nishtana halaila hazeh? How I can make this seder night different from all other nights. How I can make this upcoming year different from all other years.

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Strength In a Cookie


We continued our annual tradition of baking hamantaschen. This year, the experience was a little different. Sinai Temple joined 75 other families on zoom, communally made dough and laughed through our baking questions. How much flour? How do you create the perfect triangle shape? How many minutes in the oven?

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Pocket Torah


In rabbinical school, common advice from mentors included, “Always have a piece of pocket Torah.” Meaning, wherever you find yourself, be ready to share a Torah lesson, story, teaching or message. In a world with so much beauty, tragedy, hope and loss, there should always be a piece of Torah to share. And yet, visually, I think of someone’s pockets. At points in our lives, our pockets feel inside out, empty cloth triangles, revealing an inability to feel joy. Hollow pockets.

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