Bonnie Koppell

Author's posts

September 11, 2020

September 11, 2020          It’s Sept. 11th.  You just can’t ignore that date.  Or maybe you can?  It’s hard to believe it was 19 years ago, so there is a whole generation for whom Sept. 11th is the day after Sept. 10th and the day before Sept. 12th.  But not for me.  As with so …

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A Time For Introspection

         I want to invite you to take a breath.  A deep breath.  Let it out slowly and luxuriously.  Pause now, and, at your leisure, inhale once again.  The average person takes 23,000 breaths a day, virtually all of them completely unconscious.          What is it like when we hold our breath?  It becomes very …

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BaMidbar and COVID-19: Forty Days? Forty Months? Forty Years?

         According to the Torah, we are just now, with this week’s parsha, entering Bamidbar/the wilderness.  According to us, it feels like 40 years of wandering aimlessly, hoping to reach the promised land with no idea how to get there, when we will arrive, and how we will survive along the way.  It’s one thing …

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Tazria, Metzora, and Social Distancing 2020

Tazria, Metzora, and Social Distancing- 2020 Rabbi Bonnie Koppell          An unknown illness erupts.  Waiting for a diagnosis, and then, quarantine.  Have the symptoms dissipated?  Keep checking and continue to stay isolated from the community.  Examination by a healthcare professional to determine if it’s safe to be with people.  If so, purification rituals and cleansing …

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Nadav, Avihu, and COVID-19

Nadav, Avihu, and COVID-19 Rabbi Bonnie Koppell          I trust everyone had a good Pesach and our Torah reading this week, Shemini, finds us exactly half-way through the Torah.  It is AMAZING that the rabbis so loved the text that they counted every letter, determining that the letter vav in the word “gachon,” appearing this …

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Shabbat Parah: Clean Hands and a Pure Heart

March 26th will be the first day of the month of Nisan, the month in which Passover occurs.  That means that next Shabbat, March 21, is Shabbat Mevarchim, the Shabbat on which we will officially announce and pray for the new month.  Reverse engineering, that makes this week Shabbat Parah- one of the most mysterious, least …

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I Know That Valentine’s Day is NOT a Jewish Holiday. . . .

I remember a few years ago- I was standing in the lobby, having just returned from a period of military service. I think I might have even been in uniform. I was definitely still in Army/Colonel mode. I sort of barked at one of my colleagues in a way that surprised even me as I …

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Locusts, Trees, and Tu Bishvat

Did you know that the word Elohim, God, and the word ha-tevah, nature, have the same numerical value in Hebrew?  While Jews are not pantheistic, that is, we don’t believe that nature IS God, we certainly sense the deep and intimate connection between the Creator and the creation.  Rabbi Joseph Leib Bloch taught that, “(a …

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Judaism By The Numbers

Talk delivered at Community Church of the Verdes, 27 January, 2020, Rabbi Bonnie Koppell          Well, it is a daunting task that you have set for me.  “Judaism.”  Not- Jewish Ethics, the Jewish Lifecycle, Jewish Holidays, Jewish Texts, Jewish History- all of it!  Five thousand years in 45 minutes.  The story is told that Rabbi …

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Vayigash: “Being Right/Being Happy”

A couple of weeks ago, Ron and I were pondering a challenging situation, and he said something that I can’t stop thinking about.  His comment was-  “I don’t need to be right, I just want to be happy.”  Personally,  I so resist this wise perspective.  I DO need to be right- I want to stomp …

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