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Posts by Rabbi Nicole Guzik

The Last Tooth


Our daughter excitedly ran out of her room, reporting, “I lost my last tooth!” It took a few moments to fully understand what she said. Our youngest son is losing teeth left and right, his mouth basically hollow. When our eldest made her own announcement, we laughed in disbelief. Her last baby tooth? It just couldn’t be.

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The Power of Memory


As our older kids returned from Camp Ramah, they regaled us with tales about new friends, hobbies and experiences during their four weeks away. They were thrilled when we decided to visit Camp Ramah just a week after their return. We explained to the kids that camp might look or feel different. They shook their tween heads and proceeded to discuss everything they would find back in Ojai.

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Bless This Mess


The Sherman house is full again. Children are back from summer camp, laundry is overflowing, and noise pilfers the pockets of silence that temporarily existed just days ago. Our routines are back to making breakfasts, preparing lunches, and jumping into bedtime routines that involve endless stories and complaints. Everything is out of place, and the house is chaotic, disorganized, and loud.

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A Message in a Book


The last few weeks, I have looked through other’s books. I was invited to look through Rabbi Zvi Dershowitz’s extensive library. Our beloved emeritus rabbi of blessed memory possessed quite a collection of seforim and contemporary wisdom. As Rabbi David Wolpe nears retirement, I have also been gifted the opportunity to look and take from his impressive study. Subjects include: Talmud, Jewish ethics, poetry, psychology, history, prayer, Shabbat, and rabbinic reflections; the list goes on and on.

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Summer Magic


As summer begins, so does the loosening of rigid schedules and regularly programmed calendars. Later sunsets lean into what feels like longer days, infused with the nostalgia of barbecues, baseball games, park visits, beach trips, and endless visits to the ice cream store.

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Giving and Receiving


It’s graduation season. The cessation of one journey and beginning of another. Our own daughter completed her lower school education at Sinai Akiba Academy and will continue her excellent SAA career in middle school. At various graduation ceremonies, I’ve heard advice from teachers and reflections from students. Wisdom that will inspire graduates on what they’ll encounter in years to come.

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Opportunity Versus Obstacle


I spent one hour with my family in an escape room. An escape room involves a series of puzzles, symbols, and clues that eventually lead you to unlock a door, leading to freedom. At first glance, it feels as if there is no obvious way out. Locks in every direction. No visible sign as to where one should start. We became overwhelmed by the number of obstacles standing in our way. Finally, we took a deep breath and decided to “begin again”, suddenly realizing that the first clue was right before us. Thus, began our path towards opening the door.

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A Renewal Ceremony


We are just hours away from the holiday of Shavuot, the festival in which we commemorate the giving of Torah at Har Sinai. The image of Shavuot as a betrothal between the Jewish people and God is most compelling. Jewish weddings begin with the signing of the ketubah, the marriage contract. In this case, the ketubah is the Torah. While witnesses do not sign anything on the holiday itself, we stand as the Ten Commandments are read from the Torah, testifying to its receival and reaffirm our commitment to God and the Jewish people.

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The Happiest Place on Earth


Disneyland is known as the happiest place on earth. And I’m starting to understand why. Happiness is a fleeting, temporary emotion. Imagine the rapid high experienced during a rollercoaster ride. The thrilling turns, an exhilaration felt as a fear is conquered. Yet, the ride ends almost as soon as it begins. There’s an immediate need to either go on the ride again or try out a new one. The happiness comes and the happiness goes.

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