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A Bisl Torah

The Trail of Time


On our family road trip to the Grand Canyon, we decided to take a leisurely shuttle to see the various viewpoints. Our driver was surprisingly convincing, encouraging us to get off at the first overlook. We spent ample time looking at the splash of colors painted across the canyon and watched mules make their way towards the Colorado River. But then we realized we missed some important information from our bus driver. The only option for getting back to the visitor center was to keep walking to the next overlook.

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Walking Together


This week, I visited one of our beloved members as she got up from shiva and walked around the block, signifying a reentry into the world. It was inspiring to see eight other synagogue members arrive for the walk, accompany her, reminding her that she is not alone. Just as we began, the rain began to drizzle and yet, the drops did not deter the group. We walked together, an image of community, noting that the rhythm of our steps provided a comforting symphony to the sounds of a shattered heart.

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After the Storm


During our last evening in Philadelphia, a massive storm hit our geographical area. Even before the rain poured down, an unexpected gush of wind caused the electricity to go out. Within seconds, hail fell from the sky. The storm was over in minutes, but the aftermath was astounding.

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More Fun Than You Can Handle


In New Jersey, it is a seasonal tradition to go “fruit-picking”. In our past visits, we picked apples and pumpkins. This occasion we enjoyed picking blueberries, sunflowers, zucchini, and sweet corn. As we walked into the farm, a decorated sign caught my eye: “More fun than you can handle.”

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She’s Got Your Back


It’s a regular weekend occurrence for our family to venture to Target. This past Sunday, after checking out with items most certainly not on our list, we made our way to the parking garage. A homeless man took notice of how I held our sons’ hands, each with their fingers laced into my own. He smiled and spoke directly to Zachary and Henry, “Boys, take care of your mom. She’s got your back and you’ve got hers.”

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A Habit Worth Forming


Dr. Janina Fisher, psychotherapist, and trauma specialist, speaks about the concept of resourcing and de-resourcing thoughts. Resourcing thoughts are ideas that build up our confidence and develop healthy ego. De-resourcing are exactly how they sound: destructive, denies our capabilities, and degrades our self-worth. She suggests that we categorize our thoughts before we verbalize them. The more we habituate words of self-affirmation, the more we might start believing them.

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The Child Becomes the Teacher


Last Monday, we dropped off our daughter for overnight camp. The camp system was flawless. Counselors greet the car. Kid comes out. Parents drive away. The process makes sense. No drawn-out goodbyes. A quick and sweet separation.

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As the Masks Come Off


It is extraordinary to watch California reopen. A year ago, our family was planning our 2020 summer routine: take three walks around the block, buy every puzzle at Target, become expert cookie bakers and figure out which movies on Netflix are most kid appropriate. We were blessed to stay at home, comfortable, well-fed with a roof over our heads. And yet, we never imagined the freedoms of flying across the country or going to summer camp would be stripped from our schedules. As our masks come off and we plan our summer vacations, we must pause and embrace this moment. We are experiencing a miracle.

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Making Time


For many, summertime connotes endless swimming, trips to the beach, cold lemonade and dripping ice cream cones. But for Jews, summer also means longer Shabbat afternoons, vacant hours ready to be filled. Traditionally, the time is spent studying Pirke Avot, passages of mishnah that offer life advice: how to be a leader, cultivate a righteous life, rise as a student and become a contributing human being. Passages that are often skipped because of the common refrain, “there’s never any time.”

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Graduation


This upcoming week we celebrate many graduations. The graduations of our eighth-grade students from Sinai Akiba Academy and Sinai Temple Religious School. The graduation of our own preschooler moving up towards kindergarten. Watching students say goodbye to teachers and friends bidding farewell for the summer. But in many ways, we’re all experiencing graduation: transitioning from the restrictions of pandemic life to a vastness that feels familiar and new at the very same time.

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