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A Bisl Torah

Opportunity Versus Obstacle


I spent one hour with my family in an escape room. An escape room involves a series of puzzles, symbols, and clues that eventually lead you to unlock a door, leading to freedom. At first glance, it feels as if there is no obvious way out. Locks in every direction. No visible sign as to where one should start. We became overwhelmed by the number of obstacles standing in our way. Finally, we took a deep breath and decided to “begin again”, suddenly realizing that the first clue was right before us. Thus, began our path towards opening the door.

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A Renewal Ceremony


We are just hours away from the holiday of Shavuot, the festival in which we commemorate the giving of Torah at Har Sinai. The image of Shavuot as a betrothal between the Jewish people and God is most compelling. Jewish weddings begin with the signing of the ketubah, the marriage contract. In this case, the ketubah is the Torah. While witnesses do not sign anything on the holiday itself, we stand as the Ten Commandments are read from the Torah, testifying to its receival and reaffirm our commitment to God and the Jewish people.

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The Happiest Place on Earth


Disneyland is known as the happiest place on earth. And I’m starting to understand why. Happiness is a fleeting, temporary emotion. Imagine the rapid high experienced during a rollercoaster ride. The thrilling turns, an exhilaration felt as a fear is conquered. Yet, the ride ends almost as soon as it begins. There’s an immediate need to either go on the ride again or try out a new one. The happiness comes and the happiness goes.

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Sources of Hope


An article recently came out regarding the research of “hope molecules.” Myokines are chemicals secreted when muscles contract. Myokines are known for their positive effects: Anti-aging qualities, improvement of negative mood, and overall increased mental and physical health. The research shows that exercise is a great source for these molecules of hope.

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Transformed by Challah


Throughout the year, different communities put on a “challah bake.” Hundreds of women come together to learn about this ancient Jewish ritual, connecting with our past and connecting with each other. This Thursday, Sinai Temple’s Sisterhood hosted our own evening of learning, baking, bonding, transforming, and growing.

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The Power of Being Yourself


This week, our community is mourning the loss of Jonah Anschell. In his eighteen years of life, Jonah was known for unabashedly being himself. Brilliant, witty, a first responder, someone who both commanded and deserved respect. As we shared stories about this beautiful boy, each person was in awe of his ability to walk through this world with integrity and heart.

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How Does One Remember?


It is the season of memory. We’ve recently emerged from the holiday of Pesach, remembering the exodus from Egypt. Soon after we mark Yom Hashoah, commemorating the millions of Jews that perished under Nazi rule.

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Beloved Rabbi and Friend


This week, we are mourning the passing of our dear rabbi, colleague, and friend, Rabbi Zvi Dershowitz. For fifty years, he served Sinai Temple. The overarching theme of those that shared at his funeral and shiva was that Rabbi Dershowitz was consistently part of our stories.

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Unexpected Growth


There is a tree that sits outside our kitchen window. Lacking leaves or any signs of life, I assumed the tree was dead. About six months ago, I considered speaking with our gardeners about uprooting the tree, unsure of its viability and whether the presence of the tree was doing more harm than good. However, I held back from making the verdict. Squirrels and birds would run up its branches and I figured, “Oh well…I’ll leave that decision to another day.”

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Give a Little More


Like many others around the world, this past Sunday, I watched the Oscars. And while there were many inspiring moments, Michelle Yeoh’s acceptance speech was one of the most moving. Her words continue to reverberate, “And ladies, don’t let anybody tell you, you are ever past your prime. Never give up.” A stark reminder to all of us: no matter our age or stage in life, we always have more to offer, more to create. And perhaps, some of our greatest work is yet to come.

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