Posts by Rabbi Nicole Guzik

Write the Book

I spent the last three days visiting Israel on a solidarity mission with the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and the Board of Rabbis. Through the gut wrenching experience of witnessing atrocities at Kfar Aza, learning about horrific ordeals endured by IDF soldiers at Shura Base where they identify and ready bodies for burial, and speaking with evacuees about their personal October 7th stories, it’s hard to leave Israel with a sense of optimism. For Israelis, it is a confusing time of betrayal and loss.

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This week, we met with a new member of Congress. She is graciously reaching out to clergy members to check in on the Jewish community. We shared our fears as to how Hamas is striking terror across the world. Vowing to wipe Israel and the Jewish people off the global map. She listened to our horror and witnessed our grief.

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The Future is Watching

As a result of Adam and Eve eating fruit from the tree of knowledge, the Torah tells us that “the eyes of both of them were opened….” They were stripped of their blissful naïveté, aware of their nakedness and vulnerability.

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Gates Unlocked and Hearts Opened

While the sukkah, lulav and etrog are common images associated with Sukkot, unlocked gates are just as central of symbols. As we reach the final stretch of the Sukkot festival, the seventh day receives a special name: Hoshana Rabba. Translated as: the great salvation. Hoshana Rabba serves as a bookend to Yom Kippur. The gates of repentance, compassion, and mercy are considered unlocked until the end of this minor holiday.

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