Category Archive: Uncategorized

Aug 18 2017

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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Apr 05 2017

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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Feb 24 2017

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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Nov 22 2016

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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Oct 14 2016

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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Oct 05 2016

Happiness = Goodness/How to Be Happy

HOW TO BE HAPPY Make the decision to be happy Make the best of whatever comes your way Understand that everything has a price Speak in positive ways Expect less and appreciate more Find ways to give back to the community Care for your body through food and exercise Make time to be with the …

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Oct 05 2016

Three Aspects of Forgiveness

WHY IS FORGIVENESS SO HARD? In Sue Monk Kidd’s fabulous book, The Secret Life of Bees. The author writes that, “If God said in plain language, ‘I’m giving you a choice, forgive or die,’ a lot of people would go ahead and order their coffin.” We cling to our woundedness and declare our hurt. It …

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Oct 05 2016

David Rubenstein and Rabbi Milton Steinberg

My beloved husband, David Rubenstein, died on May 19, 2015. This is my second High Holidays without him.  His death did not quite meet the standard we imagine when we say the words, “a ripe old age.”  He was 69 years old, not young, but too young to be gone, before the birth of his …

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Oct 05 2016

God as Parent

We call on God as Avinu, Malkenu- our Father, our King, or, perhaps, our Parent, our Ruler. In her book, Nurture the Wow, Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg quotes William Thackeray, “Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.”  (p. 109)  When we reach out to God as a parent, we …

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Oct 05 2016

Spiritual Accounting and the Book of Life from an Accountant’s Perspective

My mom spent much of her career as a math teacher and as comptroller of a real estate company. My dad, alav hashalom, was an accountant.  I have two brothers, Michael and Philip- both accountants.  I, on the other hand?  The last math class that I completed was 10th grade geometry.  Bookkeeping is not my …

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