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Posts by Rabbi Nicole Guzik

Leading by Empowering


The golden calf story bothers me. After escaping Egypt and the fiery vengeance of Pharaoh, the Children of Israel are close to receiving God’s written instructions. Moses leaves the group to embark on this divine mission, only to return to find a scene of pure chaos. I don’t blame the recently freed Hebrew slaves. Before heading to receive the Torah on Mount Sinai, Moses and Aaron should have engaged in a vital conversation.

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Eternal Light


The Torah introduces the ner tamid, the eternal light that was present in the Mishkan, the portable sanctuary. In every synagogue across the world, you will find a ner tamid—a light that connects us to the original ner tamid mentioned in the book of Shemot.

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Remember the What and Remember the Why


I sat down with a cherished mentor and we discussed reasons one enters and remains in a profession. People often enter and leave jobs because of other personalities. An inspiring boss, creative colleague, fantastic team. The opposite is also encountered. Demeaning experiences, frustrating interactions, and emotionally draining relationships.

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There’s More Than Elmo


Recently, Elmo, the character from Sesame Street, took to Twitter and asked the world, “How are you?” The response was tremendous. People were honest. Some explained that today is harder than yesterday. Others shared that they’re treading water, afraid of what might come next.

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Hibernation


It is the season for Tu Bishvat, the birthday of the trees. It seems odd to have a celebration of nature during one of the coldest months of the years. However, Rashi explains this is precisely when we should be celebrating nature.

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Signs from Beyond


In attending a family brit milah, we visited a synagogue that merged with my home shul. In tribute to my home shul, the new chapel is adorned with the former shul’s ark doors and yahrzeit plaques. Many of my family members are memorialized on these walls.

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Time Management


Efficiency is overrated. Jim Benson, an expert in time management, claims that efficiency becomes “a limitless reservoir for other people’s expectations.” Author Oliver Burkeman explains that we should stop worrying about our overflowing to do lists, endless emails, and attempts to finish everything. Burkeman doesn’t imply that we ignore our responsibilities. However, he suggests we refrain from “clearing the decks.” Clearing the decks is the idea that through our busy work, we will eventually see blank slates and empty counters. The attempt is futile. Getting to a zero inbox leads to more emails and more responses. Checking off bucket lists means we will inevitably fill the list with other random duties. We are engaged in an endless race in completing meaningless tasks instead of choosing to engage in meaningful moments.

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Jewish Resolutions


Recently, my husband and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. A few days prior, we went on a family walk. I suggested we walk to Walgreens. My husband immediately agreed. We looked at each other and both sheepishly smiled. I confessed, “You need to buy your anniversary card, too?” He replied, “Absolutely.” As we walked together and laughed at the idea that we were buying each other’s cards at the same time, we both admitted that the card was redundant to the experience. Written expressions of love are good reminders, but carving out time to walk with those we love is priceless.

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