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Honorable Mensch-ion

Pray and Play


My mother always reminds me that a synagogue should be a place to pray and to play. A sacred space may not be only filled with serious moments of introspection and soul searching. Inversely, the places we frequent in our everyday lives garner the opportunity to bring the holy into the ordinary. This morning, I visited a young family who put up their first mezuzah in their home. As I showed them the shema on the parchment that was put into the mezuzah, the parents told their young daughter—this is the prayer that we say when we ask God to keep us safe.

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Radical Amazement


This week, I am visiting family in Philadelphia. While sitting in a café, the table next to ours was engaged in a conversation that I could not ignore. The first person said, “When you give a sermon, it must not be for an imaginary audience. A sermon must be given for the real world.” My father and I, both rabbis, smiled at each other and continued eating.

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A World of Faith


A journalist recently told me that she was in conversation with a friend who refused to bring children into this broken world. She felt it would be ethically irresponsible. She then asked me, “Rabbi, what should I tell my friend?”

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Different Perspectives


WhatsApp is a brilliant way of communicating with family around the world. My extended family, which stretches from Los Angeles to Philadelphia, has a WhatsApp chat group where we share updates of our lives in real time.

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Crying & Laughing


Why do we have the different sounds of the shofar? The Rabbis answer that people around the world cry differently. Some moan, some sob, and some whimper. The shevarim and teruah calls echo those distinct manners of crying. Together on Rosh Hashana, we hear the cries of the world.

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