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Honorable Mensch-ion

Pa


My grandfather was known as Pa. He was born in Poland, came to the United States in the 1920s, and was a tire salesman in the Philadelphia area. Pa loved his Judaism and he loved people: A cashier, a store clerk, his doctor, his rabbi, his family, and strangers. He could never meet someone and not ask them a question or tell them a story. Our family named this extroverted characteristic “Pa-itis,” and we like to say this trait does not skip a generation.

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New Year’s Freedom


I would always challenge myself as a child to stay up until midnight and watch the ball drop in Times Square each New Year’s Eve. With the advent of DVR and a 9pm ball drop on the west coast, the challenge does not feel as urgent these days.

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Names


The Book of Exodus is primarily spent on the Israelites’ journey into slavery and the transformation of this tribe into a Jewish people with God’s revelation at Mount Sinai.

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Circles


What circle are you a part of? I ask this question each year to graduating high school seniors. By this time in their lives, they are a part of many circles: The family, the synagogue, the community, the city, the United States, the people of Israel, and the world.

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The Power of Exile


The Jewish story is one of exile and redemption. At times we live inside our land, and at times we live outside our land. While these two concepts appear to be polar opposites, the same root is found in both words; galut, exile, and geulah, redemption, both meaning “to reveal.”

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An Attitude of Gratitude


During my Rabbinic internship at Temple Sholom, in Greenwich, CT, Rabbi Mitch Hurvitz would preach a consistent message: An “attitude of gratitude.” Whether it be in a religious school classroom, pre-school Shabbat, or Yom Kippur sermon, the attitude for gratitude was necessary to build a sacred community. For many Americans, Thanksgiving is the moment where we actively acknowledge our life’s blessings. At the dinner table, we publicly recite what we are grateful for in ways which we may passively accept the rest of the year.

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Let It Shine


A new Torah study group recently formed with Sinai Temple dads. Each month, we explore a traditional Jewish text based on well known rituals, and we discuss the meaning that these traditions have within our own families.

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