Menu   

Posts by Rabbi Nicole Guzik

A 6am Wakeup


Our family is in possession of an abundance of shofarot. Many, many shofars. During quarantine, our children took up chess, learned to swim, and now, blow shofar. But unlike the other somewhat delightful skills, the practice of blowing shofar is not pretty. It’s loud. Sometimes sounding like a bird squawking in your ear. Other times, sounding like the sputtering of a car running on empty. Not melodic. Headache-inducing. One morning, with the sun barely peeking through the fold of darkness and dawn, I heard my conspiring children. “You blow it.” “You try it.” And before our new neighbors would have…

Read this post

To Our Teachers


Some superheroes wear capes and fly through the sky. Other superheroes manage classes of anxious, excited, confused students through a world pandemic. Whether instructing in person or via zoom, this Bisl Torah is in honor of the extraordinary people co-raising our children: our teachers. Perhaps your home sounds like ours: “What’s the new zoom code?” “I can’t connect. The internet is slow.” “I can see my friend’s baby brother and he’s drawing on their walls.” “Can my virtual background be outer space?” And yet, there is the steady voice of the teacher, prompting our children, smiling, reminding them that someone…

Read this post

The Missing Piece


Some people lose socks in the laundry. Others constantly lose their spare key. In my family: we cannot seem to create a full puzzle. No matter what, there is always one puzzle piece missing. I would understand if we were missing a few pieces or two puzzles jumbled together in the same box. But repeatedly, one ominous section of a puzzle taunts us, as if laughing at our naivete in thinking we might complete the masterpiece. And that missing piece steals the attention instead of giving honor to the remainder of an otherwise, intact beautiful scene. Do you remember Shel…

Read this post

Dream a Little Dream


In a rare escape from our home, my husband and I were driving through West Los Angeles, admiring the sunset and looming palm trees. Something compelled me to ask him, “What’s one of your dreams?” And I qualified the question, “Something you haven’t shared with me before. What’s something you want to do in your lifetime?” With a moment’s hesitation, he looked at me and said, “One day, I want us to live in Jerusalem. For a month, for a summer, but live in an apartment and share Jerusalem with our children.” We have always pined to go on an…

Read this post

A Birthday in Quarantine


Five months ago, I never would have imagined celebrating a birthday during a pandemic. Five months ago, I never would have imagined planning for Rosh Hashanah, the birthday of the world in the midst of quarantine. Five months ago, I never would have imagined wishing summer away so that the semblance of school brings back routine to my family’s life. And yet, this newly minted 39-year-old has some fresh realizations, that perhaps, five months ago, I wouldn’t have been able to articulate as well: No other gifts are necessary or come close to the joy of receiving three handmade cards…

Read this post

Love in the time of Pandemic


On Sunday, my brother and now sister in law got married. The wedding had been postponed from May and the bride and groom decided not to let any more time go by to celebrate their love. If you had asked the couple six months ago to describe their dream wedding, I’m sure masks, an extremely limited guest list, no reception, no hugging, social distanced seats, and a backyard location would be far from the listed details. And yet, if you asked them to convey the emotion and meaning of the day, there would be no difference in description. Their wedding…

Read this post

Unsettled


We’ve recently moved. Our family feels blessed that our children will create memories in this beautiful home. The kids have claimed their spaces, started decorating their rooms, and seem to forget they lived anywhere else. Our home has become more than a dependable place. My husband and I breathe a sigh of relief when we walk through the door. As if the confusion and horrors of the outside can’t possibly penetrate our inner sanctum. The mental game we play with ourselves is perhaps one many of us choose to enter: if we just close the curtains and turn off the…

Read this post

Shielding the Pain


My son has a custom of wearing his swim goggles in the bathtub. He figures if the goggles keep out the water in the pool, they must keep out the soap in the tub. Somehow, no matter how hard we try to protect his eyes, a few bubbles always seep through. With the recent information in Los Angeles about online schooling and continued rise of Covid cases, it is difficult shielding our children from the onslaught of news. My husband and I carefully determine when and where we will speak about world events, but our children have questions, curiosities, and…

Read this post

Opting Out


I am going to take the liberty of my Bisl Torah space to write about terms that are being thrown around in an unfortunate way: “opting out” or “taking a break”. In choosing whether or not to belong to a synagogue or support nonprofit institutions, many are deciding to take a “year off” and consider rejoining the following year. Jewish professionals across the world are reaching out to colleagues and peers, understanding that if enough people decide to opt out, the Jewish world that once was, will never look the same. The Jewish world that once was, will not have…

Read this post

Lessons from the Delivery Man


The world is heightened with emotion. When someone sneers or complains, it can feel like a snag at the soul. When someone smiles or offers a kind word, the gesture extends far beyond that moment. With the onset of the pandemic, like many of you, my online ordering has hit an all-time high. Groceries, household supplies, activities for the kids…Amazon is pretty much my only visitor these days. I was surprised to see that on one of the boxes, the Amazon delivery man left a sweet message: “Happy Independence Weekend, Be Happy, Sincerely, Your Delivery Driver, Edgar!” Could very well…

Read this post