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Posts by Rabbi Nicole Guzik

The Weeping Rock


We took our first family road trip to Zion National Park. Among the incredible views and natural wonders, the fan favorite was a phenomenon known as “Weeping Rock.” A quick ten minutes up a steep ascent leads you to an odd site: a mountain of stone…crying. Droplets of water fall on your head and over and over again, the question is asked: why is the mountain crying? The rangers explain that water has slowly eroded sandstone sitting above Weeping Rock. The water hits seemingly impermeable stone, forcing drops out the sides of the mountain’s wall, causing nonstop crying. In other…

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What are you waiting for?


Erez and I recently spent a wondrous week at Camp Ramah. We taught, schmoozed with campers and counselors, and breathed in the soulful air that only camp provides. One morning, we decided to take a walk into Ojai. Erez runs marathons. I do not. Erez runs miles throughout Los Angeles. I do not. But hill after hill, curve after curve, I was committed to finishing the walk. Getting closer to the half-way mark, directly ahead was the following sign: ROAD CLOSED. Nearly crying, I blurted out, “We are not turning around.” For a few minutes, we debated making the trek…

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Letting Go


Summertime often includes sun-drenched days filled with ice cream dripping down chins, lounging at the beach, and regular routines thrown out the window. And in our home, summer usually means…swimming lessons. My kids take to the water with their distinct personalities. One swims with ease, barely looking over her shoulder to see if we are watching. Another kid jumps in, screaming with glee…but can’t swim a stroke. And finally, one child sticks to the steps, content to stay glued to the side of the pool. That is…until this year. The kid who never leaves the pool’s edge looked at me…

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Look in the Mirror


This week, I had the honor of joining a bride and her family as she immersed in the mikvah. Her grandmothers, mother, aunt and sister showered her with blessings, invoking memories of the past and hopes for the future. The ceremony was poignant, personal, intensely moving. But I wasn’t prepared for what happened as soon as the bride returned to the waiting room. The bride’s mother placed in her hands, a mirror. A large, glistening, silver mirror. The mother whispered to the bride, “Look at yourself. Just look.” I learned it is a Persian tradition for brides to look into…

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The Best is Yet to Come


This week was our middle guy, Zachary’s graduation from preschool. I bawled as I watched him fiercely hug his friends. My eyes teared up as we compared photos of Zachy at age 2 and now, Zachy at age 5. And I could barely hold it together when his teachers placed a tallit over his head and blessed him. But I wasn’t crying because of an ending. I was crying because of the gratitude I feel in Zachary’s ability to reach this day. A few years ago, I told a friend that I wished “time would stop.” And her response: “No,…

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Pushing through the Clouds


Pushing through the Clouds It seems like that kind of week. Looming deadlines, last minute issues, trying to get everything done before the end of the school year. A feeling in the air of mixed anticipation and exhaustion. Friends, family, and community members expressing the same sentiment: A little bit of June gloom has seeped into life and there is a natural wistfulness for the sun to shine through the clouds. Sometimes, our mental and spiritual quotient is spent on Monday and Shabbat feels very far away. The question becomes, “Where does one refuel?” How do we sustain our spirit…

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The Game of Chess


I forgot how to play the game of chess. This week, someone refreshed my memory: my seven-year-old daughter. Annie challenged me a few nights ago. She set up the board, reminded me of the names of the pieces, and we began to play. She slowly went through the rules, explaining which ways the pieces could travel and where and when I would lose if my step was unwise. I know chess is about tactics and strategies, a game in which every move is calculated and well-planned. But I couldn’t help but wonder: how much of chess is moving the pieces…

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The Road to Hana


Ten years ago, Erez and I took our honeymoon in Maui. As part of the week’s excursions, we drove the road to Hana. As explained, the road to Hana includes many breathtaking views, waterfalls, spots to pause and recognize God’s beauty. But repeatedly, the guidebooks warn: The road to Hana is not about getting to Hana. The road to Hana is about enjoying the journey. Erez and I didn’t heed the warning. We were anxious to see what Hana was; where the road would end. And we were deeply disappointed. Instead of really taking in each sight, we rushed the…

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Who Makes Miracles?


In one of my classes at Sinai, we explored the question, “Who has the power to enact a miracle?” We spoke about God, the example of Moses splitting the Sea of Reeds, and even pointing to the beginning of Creation as the greatest miracle of all. But then we read about Nachshon, a mere human being willing to test the waters, the first person to step into the Sea of Reeds before it split. The passage explains that the water rose to Nachshon’s nose before the miracle of the splitting of the sea begins to take place. But we all…

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March of the Living–A Unique Journey


I was asked why this March of the Living was different than past trips to Poland. Each trip is special. This journey was unique because we traveled with the Steinberg family. Stuart, Evie, Jake and Paige Steinberg joined our Sinai Temple delegation and shared with us, the story of Max, their beloved son and brother. And they shared themselves, adding their hearts to our Sinai Temple family. Years prior, Jake and Paige decided to go on Birthright and urged their brother, Max to join the trip. The three siblings were touched and transformed by Israel in different ways. But for…

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