Thursday, December 31, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
I am a Jew and I celebrate my life as a Jew.
I am a woman and I celebrate the joy of being a woman,
and dear God,
I am both Jewish and a woman and can only imagine embracing both passionately.
I want to draw closer to You, to learn more about how to learn Your truths, Your love, Your trust in the people of this world. I want to understand more and cannot get enough of Your Presence.
I am a Jew and a woman and I want all of that, and I celebrate becoming that Jewish woman, growing and blossoming in Your love.
I am thrilled to know that I, and my Christian male bell choir director, and my Conservative daughter, and my atheist son, and all the other people who I have not yet met - that we are all loved by You.
And I sing Hallelujah!
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Rabbi Peter Knobel and Cantor Jeff Klepper,1983
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Wrapped in the 'arms' of God
Embraced in love and intimacy ...
Easing into the secure comfort
I am free to pray with all my heart ...
God's voice pours out of me
as I feel the Breath fill my body ...
Sometimes there are tears of joy or sadness
But always there is a feeling of 'coming home.'
One of the most powerful times of prayer was in the beautiful space of a chapel at a Christian Retreat Center. This was clearly a sacred place. God was in this place and, yes, I did know it. Freedom to be who I am, a Jewish woman of faith ... welcoming sisters.
How ironic that Jewish women do not have that freedom to pray so safely in 'our homeland', at one of the most sacred sites of the Jewish people. How sad to realize that 'my people' would not honor my right to pray, abuse me and treat me as less than human. Maybe they are not 'my people'. Does God listen to and answer their prayers?
Associate Professor of Jewish Education
Hebrew Union College - New York
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz
Friday, December 18, 2009
Tonight, the eighth and last blog of Chanukah is brought to you by Rabbi Kinneret Shiryon and Rabbi Nir Barkin of Kehilah YOZMA - the sister congregation of B'nai Israel in Modi'in, Israel. Yozma means 'initiative', and the name of the congregation is also an acronym standing for Yahadut Zmaneinu Moreshet Ha'am, meaning 'Judaism of our time, heritage of our people'. You can learn more about the congregation, including ways of supporting the community, here.
We welcomed the month of Kislev at YOZMA with an intensive study weekend in the northern part of Israel focused on the subject of “Understanding the different approaches to Faith and Belief in Judaism” Kislev is the month dedicated to the celebration of light! It comes at a time when the days are the shortest and the nights are the longest in the calendar year. The lighting of the Chanukah candles reminds us of the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem and the amazing victory of the Jewish people over the tyranny of the Syrian ‐ Greek rule. Light brings a sense of clarity, joy and warmth into our lives. Light is a universal symbol of hope and faith.
At one of the workshops we participated in an exercise in painting. The exercise demanded of us to work with the concepts of light and darkness. It was a fascinating experience for all of us. We learned that darkness descends from the margins into the center and that light radiates out from the center towards the margins. When we think about the movement of light in this way and apply it to the spiritual and emotional realms of our lives we can begin to understand our potential for rekindling light into our darkest moments. When we observe the margins carefully we can try to recognize what outside influences cause the darkness to descend upon us and respond appropriately. And then once we realize that we have the ability to spark light from our inner self ‐ from our own center ‐ we can illuminate brand new regions of our daily lives.
In chapter 2 of the Midrash Pesikta Rabbati, (a collection of stories and explanations of the festivals and other special occasions) we learn that: “There are seven dedications that have been achieved by light : The creation of the world by moonlight, the Tabernacle and two Temples by the seven‐branched menorah, the festival of the Maccabees by the eight‐branched menorah, the walls of Jerusalem by torches, and the millennium by the sevenfold light of the sun”.
Let us suggest an additional dedication making the grand total of eight to parallel the eight days we celebrate Chanukah: As we the members of YOZMA light our chanukiot this year – with the awareness that our many friends and supporters will also be lighting their chanukiot across the sea – together, let us all dedicate ourselves to finding that inner light that shines in our centers and bring it forth into the world. How so very bright our days will be…
Chag Urim Sameach – Happy Chanukah!
Rabbi Kinneret Shiryon and Rabbi Nir Barkin
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Hanukkah is one of the most celebrated holidays in American Jewish life and there are probably more Jews who know at least one Hanukkah song than for any other holiday. Even public school
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
The Lights Won't Go Out
It is most encouraging to see the improved facilities and
expanded services that Emek has achieved over the past
several years. Our growing family of friends around the
world has played an important role in our ability to better
serve the people of Israel. Since October 2000 the trauma
from unprecedented terror has affected us all. Emek
Medical Center has stood firm in the eye of the hurricane
and managed to maintain its standing as an island of sanity.
We have proven over the years that all the people of our
region, Jews and Arabs alike may depend upon us to treat
every patient with unprejudiced dedication. Despite the
strains on our limited resources, we have, with essential
help from our friends, been able to meet some of the many
challenges we face and we hope that more of you will be
joining our family.
I am so proud of the entire staff of this institution, as it is
thanks to their dedication and sensitivities that Emek has
repeatedly been voted #1 in patient satisfaction. Despite
the loving care we provide and even with the completion
of our West Tower, approximately 50% of our patients are
still hospitalized in sub-standard conditions. Israel’s health
care establishment is in the midst of an acute economic crisis.
Every hospital has been affected and Emek’s ability to maintain
its level of services is being eroded. The immense challenge
facing us today is to continue growing while increasing our
level of efficiency without negatively affecting our high medical
standards or our excellent patient relationships. Most pressing
of all is our need for more operating theaters. Our current surgical
facilities cannot cope efficiently with the normal caseload of a
growing population and every mass casualty terror event only
exacerbates an already critical situation. Plans are now drawn
for a new Surgical Complex that will eventually include 12
ultra-modern Operating Rooms, a new Sterile Supply Unit
and various surgical departments. Our primary focus, in order
to answer immediate needs, is to first build and equip 4 — 6
new Operating Rooms. Funding will determine the rate of
further progress. We salute all of our friends who have joined
us in our quest .to provide better healthcare for our people.
Click here for more information about the Emek Medical Center,
or to offer support.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Tonight, the fourth blog of Chanukah is brought to you by Rabbi David Nelson. Rabbi Nelson will be our scholar-in-residence, March 19-20, 2009. He is