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Praying for Rain

Rain is a blessing.  Our tradition suggests that when we give thanks for rain, we appreciate each and every drop as a blessing.  What a beautiful reminder of the importance of appreciating even the littlest things- every blessing, large and small.  What is an underappreciated blessing in your life right now?  Our ancestors lived in …

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Ten Things I Love About Being Jewish

10 Things I Love About Being Jewish I decided that I wanted to be a rabbi at the age of 11. How do I know such a specific detail?  Because my dad, alav ha-shalom, thought to himself at that moment- “This is going to be important to remember,” so he made a mental note of …

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Three Little Words- Kol Nidre 5779

  Those 3 little words might be “I love you.”  That’s what I always thought of when I heard the phrase, 3 little words.  Three little words that are magic, that make our hearts sing.  And then,  Sue Coore gave me an article by Chris Brogan, “My 3 Words for 2016,” and my head began …

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John McCain: Exemplar of Jewish Values

  Senator John McCain   “How mighty ones have fallen.”  (II Samuel 1:25)  John McCain served the people of Arizona as our elected representative in Washington, DC, for over 40 years.  The memory of the righteous is for blessing.  He will be remembered for his dedication to duty, continuing his family’s legacy of military service …

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JWB Jewish Chaplains Council- JCCA- “Jewish Military Professional Award”

In 1978 when I raised my hand and swore to defend the Constitution of the United States I had no idea what I was getting into.  I grew up in Brooklyn, NY, near what was then the US Army Chaplain School at Fort Hamilton, NY.  Knowing that I wanted to be a rabbi, I was …

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On the Reality and Power of Evil

On the Reality and Power of Evil- Rabbi Bonnie Koppell In her novel The Wonder Worker, Susan Howatch warns us of a fact of life which we would all much rather ignore, as she writes, “Evil exists. Those who forget that fact or ignore it or reject it are at best taking a big risk …

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My Grandson, The Angel

Every grandparent thinks that their grandchild is an angel. My new grandson, Michael David, who is 10 days and 30 minutes old, actually IS an angel.  Or, at least, he is named for one!  People are sometimes surprised to learn that there ARE angels in Jewish tradition.  The Torah speaks of “malachim”- messengers- and you …

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Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos and Rabbah bar Chana

By now we are all familiar with the story of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, the Mesa mom who came to the U.S. from Mexico at the age of 14, and who was recently deported in an initiative to enforce the strictest standard of law. In 2008 she was convicted for using a false social security …

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Conversation Project Shabbat

On July 14, 2014, my husband David and I sat down with our children to disseminate and discuss our healthcare advanced directives as a family. It was David’s 69th birthday; he died about 2 months before his 70th. David had endured several years of ill health, culminating in the removal of a kidney. In June, …

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Death and Letting Go

Death and Letting Go On Rosh HaShanah it is written, and on Yom Kippur it is determined, “Who shall live and who shall die.” In America we associate dying with sickness and disease, something which takes place in hospitals, out of sight. In ancient culture, and, in fact, up until the modern era, death was …

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