Thursday, October 29, 2020

Rochel's Tears: Written in 1997 and reprinted in honor of Mama Rochel's Yahrzeit*



As an 18-year-old college student, I had only begun to wade in the waters of Jewish observance, when I made my first visit to Israel in 1972. Coming with my B’nai B’rith Youth background, I was ready to see a living Israel and gave little thought to the Torah side of the country. Still, once I had visited the Western Wall and did all the hikes and museums that were part of my summer tour, I felt drawn to Rachel's Tomb.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Loving Our Neighbor

 

“Do you want to hear an inspiring story?” my friend asked and after hearing my affirmative reply she began her tale.

As you know, my mother survived the Holocaust and made her way to America. She married and had three children. I was the oldest and when I was just five-years-old she came down with TB. For six months she was confined in a sanatorium and we weren’t allowed to visit her. Six months she didn’t see her children. Her children! And there were no Zoom or Skype or WhatsApp. Can you imagine how she felt? When she came home my youngest brother wouldn’t go to her. But she followed the regulations because she knew if she didn’t she was endangering her children.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Sukkot: Our Time of Happiness


How can I be happy this year? I can’t have guests in my Sukkah. I can’t see most of my children and grandchildren. I can’t go to the Kotel. I can’t tour my lovely country. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.

While going down this negative path of thoughts, I suddenly remembered Sukkot ten years earlier when my friend, Yehudit Spatz, z’’l, died on the eve of the holiday. How in the world, I wondered then, would I be able to recite Praise G-d because He is good, His kindness endures forever, an integral part of the Sukkot prayers?

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Avinu Malekeinu

Avinu Malekeinu

To this day, I think of my mother as I recite this emotional prayer. And why shouldn’t I? She sang it with so much feeling that intuitively I grasped the meaning of our pleas to our Father, our King before I was old enough to really understand them. There are pleas for everything, peace, tranquility, health, financial stability, abundance, compassion and forgiveness from G-d, a closeness to our Maker, and more. Of course, this year, one of the requests hit me right between the eyes. Our Father, our King, withhold the Plague from Your heritage (Your people).

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Prayers in the Park

 



If I stay healthy and don’t have to enter into isolation, this is where I’ll be praying on Rosh Hashanah 5781.  My husband has been working hard to put up lighting, shade, and dividers. Others are struggling to make sure we have willing volunteers to lead our services, read from the Torah, and blow the shofar. I’ve bought a sun hat and mosquito repellent. It will be a very different Rosh Hashanah from years past. And as much as we miss those Rosh Hashanahs perhaps the longing for the past will help us focus our prayers on the future. A future in which we can make ourselves better people and a better world. A future in which we’ll have true redemption.  Next year may we be able to pray at the Holy Temple, together, without masks, and stand close to one another without fear.

May we all be signed and sealed for only good.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Not Over the Rainbow (inspired by a class given by Rabbi Dr. Aaron Adler)

Last year at this time who would have believed the situation that was waiting for us less than half a year after we sounded the High Holy Day shofar? Who would have dreamed many of us wouldn’t be able to gather inside a synagogue the following year?  Who could have guessed that our new year greetings this year would be given without handshakes or hugs? Last year, without a glimmer of what the future would hold, we innocently recited this powerful prayer in the Musaf service on both days of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur. 

Friday, September 4, 2020

A Glorious Chapter


It was my first year living in Shilo and as I listened to the Haftorah I felt such a thrill.

And the man went up from his city from appointed time to appointed time to sacrifice to the Lord of Hosts in SHILO… Samuel 1, Chapter 1, verse 3.

I was living in Shilo! Less than ten years earlier my village was reestablished in the same place we were reading about in synagogues all over the world on the first day of Rosh Hashana.