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Posts by Rabbi Nicole Guzik

Stop and see the roses


Look at so many Facebook and Instagram posts. You will see picture after picture of people’s gardens, patches of wildflowers discovered on someone’s walk, and roses. So many roses. As part of our new family quarantine rituals, we go on evening strolls. The streets of Los Angeles feel like the streets of Jerusalem. So many people walking, biking, leisurely taking in the sounds of chirping birds and children laughing. We spend many of these walks staring at the roses that line the streets of Westwood. White, red, yellow, pink…roses that may have always been there but roses we feel like…

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It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint


Admittedly, I am not the runner in our home. My husband loves exploring the different routes of Westwood, coming back filled with awe over what sites he passed and how much further his feet took him. I smile, knowing the run energizes his day while I am just as happy drinking my second cup of coffee. But lately, I think my husband has the better strategy. Experts are using the phrase, “This is a marathon, not a sprint.” Meaning, many of us ran straight forward, double espresso in hand, feeling as if this quarantine time was conquerable. How many loaves…

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Endless Summer


It is not easy reframing this situation for young children. It is hard to explain why they can’t hug their grandparents, go on play dates and see their teachers in person. It is even harder encouraging them to cross the street to avoid other pedestrians, reporting that Disneyland is closed, and explaining why we stay home to protect the health of friends, family and strangers. Words like “corona”, “death” and “sick” are starting to emerge in daily conversations. Erez and I are trying to instill within our children feelings of gratitude without instilling within them perpetual feelings of fear. Their…

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A Passover Reflection


Connection permeates walls. Connection permeates restrictions. Connection permeates boundaries. Connection permeates screens.   Love breaks through distancing. Love breaks through dropped calls. Love breaks through empty chairs. Love breaks through closed doors.   Embrace exists through open hearts. Embrace exists through chosen words. Embrace exists through acts of kindness. Embrace exists through memories of yesterday and hopes for tomorrow.   Community is reciting “Mah Nishtana?” Community is calling the lonely, seeking out the pained. Community is looking past our wants, discovering someone else’s need. Community is the voice of one, singing the song of many.   Faith is knowing that…

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A Passover Reflection


Connection permeates walls. Connection permeates restrictions. Connection permeates boundaries. Connection permeates screens. Love breaks through distancing. Love breaks through dropped calls. Love breaks through empty chairs. Love breaks through closed doors. Embrace exists through open hearts. Embrace exists through chosen words. Embrace exists through acts of kindness. Embrace exists through memories of yesterday and hopes for tomorrow. Community is reciting “Mah Nishtana?” Community is calling the lonely, seeking out the pained. Community is looking past our wants, discovering someone else’s need. Community is the voice of one, singing the song of many. Faith is knowing that we have been here…

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You are Essential


I was taking a walk and out of the blue, a congregant on the other side of the street called out, “You know, you’re essential, right? Thank you for what you do.” His words shook me.    “You are essential.”    And while I know he was speaking about my “work” as a rabbi, I don’t think he realized that his message speaks to the core of every human being. God created us to be essential. To give back and be partners in the ongoing creation and evolution of this world.   Even in a time in which we are…

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Four Questions


Why is this night different from all other nights? We sing this chorus over and over again, listing answers as to how the night is unique. We only eat matzah. We consume bitter herbs. We dip our food twice. We recline. These answers persuade our minds to travel back in time, connecting us to a people enslaved, a people with the taste of liberation barely on their lips. But this year, the question pervades everything else.    Why is this night different from all other nights?    Why will this Passover feel different from all other Pesach celebrations we have…

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Never Limit Love


  I went to Ralph’s and above the bread section were the following words:   LIMITS… Due to the huge increase in demand and to ensure that more of our valuable customers have the opportunity to purchase, we are limiting bread to 2 packages per customer.   There were signs like this all over the store. Yet, all I could see was that word, “Limits.” Yes, limit the amount of food and supplies in taking what we need. But the idea of limits extends far beyond the grocery store.   In order to live within the unknown, our minds and…

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Connecting Through Light


A special message from Rabbi Nicole Guzik   I understand that many of us feel afraid. But, what exactly do we fear? No answers. An inability to know when this will end. It is the unknown that feels shaky. Living with so much doubt is what causes a sinking ship; unable to navigate the murky waters set before us. But we have lived through uncertain times. We have walked on thorny paths. It is knowing that we are not alone that gives us hope and bolsters our strength.   Jews have lit Shabbat candles for thousands of years, connecting us…

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Hide n’ Seek


I recently led a few discussions, asking, “When was a time you hid something about yourself?” I found myself hearing the following responses:   -I hide that people hurt my feelings because I don’t want to upset anyone.  -I hide how sensitive I am because I don’t want others to see my emotion. -I hide what is really happening at home because I don’t want people to think that something might be wrong.   I led these discussions with women. Women of all ages, all stages of life. We explored the idea that in the story of Purim, everything changes…

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