Honorable Mensch-ion


Each year, the Eve before Pesach, we conduct the ritual of bedikat chametz, the searching of unleavened products from our home. We go around the house with a feather, spoon, and candle, making the declaration, “All chametz that we see and that we do not see is null and void.” Yet, just like so many other traditions of this past year, bedikat chametz will be different; because Passover begins on Saturday evening, we perform bedikat chametz a day earlier.

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One Year

Scroll through any newspaper from yesterday, and you will see similar headlines: “Pandemic: One Year In.” Nicholas Goldberg of The Los Angeles Times describes his return to the office after 365 days away: “My glasses were still sitting by the phone, and a legal pad was open, as if I had just stepped out for lunch.” The same sentiment occurred month after month at Sinai Temple. For months, the sanctuary remained in the exact configuration as we left it, the same pew bulletin from March 2019.

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Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

Can you hear me? That is the question of the year. Zoom has opened up our lives, allowing participation in lifecycle events both from near and far. And yet, however miraculously close Zoom has brought us, we simply cannot do what we want to do: sing at the same time.

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Run Away or Run Toward

Israel is one of the only places tin the world where you have a unique Purim choice. Purim is celebrated on the 14th of Adar, which is today.

However, in a city surrounded by walls, like Shushan, or in today’s world, Jerusalem, Purim is celebrated on the 15th of Adar. And that leaves us with a choice. If you love Purim so much and you want the party to continue, all you need to do is celebrate Purim in Tel Aviv on the 14th of Adar, take the short ride to Jerusalem on the 15th of Adar, and you have two full days of one of the happiest days of the year.

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Joy Again

It is hard to believe that we will celebrate Purim in the upcoming week. Purim is the day that we normally put on masks, and the world is turned upside down. This week, my daughter is preparing to return to school next week. In preparation, she met her teachers at the park. When I asked her what she was most looking forward to meeting her teachers in person for the first time, she simply responded, “I am excited to see their feet.” She was absolutely serious. Purim is a time where we think differently about the world. If each day of the last year has been a type of Purim, how do we celebrate the holiday this year?

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Remember God

When do you remember God? Our response is often, “When God remembers us.” We wait until a life cycle, be it joy or grief, to bring the Divine Presence into our lives.

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Torah Deliveries

I am often asked, “Is Rabbinic life different in a pandemic?” The answer is simple: It is a new normal. Thursday is my new favorite day of the week. Blessed with over 100 b’nai mitzvah this year, Thursdays are now Torah delivery day.

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Dinner Guests

Family movie time is now a pandemic staple in our home. We introduced our children to the movies of our youth, reliving our childhoods vicariously.

This week, we focused on time machine movies. In “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” two high school students bring back historical figures to their school for their history project, engaging these individuals in conversation. This entertaining film led us to a simple question, “If you could go back in time, who would you invite?”

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Lighten the Dark

My daughter’s third grade writing assignment this week was to write a paragraph about someone who is not thanked enough.

“Nitza, my aunt, I love her very much. She is a kidney transplant nurse and she saves lives. I think because she does this, we should thank her more often. Here are a few reasons why. 1. She saves people’s lives. 2. She brings joy to her patients and helps them get through their hard times. I think we should appreciate Nitza more often!”

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Our Feet and Our Souls

In a world filled with division and strife, Martin Luther King weekend connotes unity and togetherness. In King’s speech, entitled “Our God is Marching On,” he tells the story of asking a woman who had been marching for hours if she was tired and why she didn’t simply drive. Her response was, “My feet are tired but my soul is rested.”

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