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We Begin Again – Beresheit 5775

Posted by on Oct 15, 2014 in Blog | 3 comments

This time last year, I was packing boxes, finishing the legal documents to close on our new home two hundred miles away, saying farewell to the many people I care about living around Lake Tahoe. It was a tumultous time, given that moving and changing jobs are two of the highest stressors people encounter in their lives. And I had a sick daughter and a husband who hated where he was living. And I threw my hips out with the packing. And I had no job prospects. And yet, I was excited for the new adventure, carrying a faith that we could handle how it might unfold. My daughter is healthy, happy and working. My hips have recovered. Our home is beautiful and cozy and my...

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Under the Chuppah, Inside the Sukkah

Posted by on Oct 11, 2014 in Blog | 1 comment

When we moved into our new home almost a year ago (!), we were thrilled to have what looked to us like a ready made chuppah, or wedding canopy. A friend exclaimed, “And sukkah, too!” A sukkah is an impermanent, fragile hut, to remember our ancestors’ experience in the wilderness, where we were untethered to place or land or borders, while tied closely to each other, and to the traveling Mishkan, the dwelling place of the Holy of Holies. And indeed, we’re using it as a sukkah this year, our very first as a family. Not much to speak of, but we do sit and eat there. (Or at least I do.)   This weekend, I’ll be officiating at my fourth Sukkot wedding in the...

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L’shana tovah u’metukah

Posted by on Sep 23, 2014 in Blog | 4 comments

Rosh Hashanah is upon us – tomorrow night. And I confess I’ve seen three movies in two days! This is the first time in at least 12 years that I haven’t had a major role to play in at least two services, if not all of them, over the next two weeks, and I find myself mostly exulting. I will actually get to pray – with friends, in different communities I love. I’ll be involved on Yom Kippur (at Congregation Ner Shalom), but in a small way, co-leading (my favorite) one section, chanting torah, and helping with the children’s service. But mostly, I’ll get to pray. And I’m pretty happy about it. I started doing an Elul blog, and...

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Elul Blog – Day 14 – Serena Williams and Confidence

Posted by on Sep 8, 2014 in Blog | 2 comments

When Serena Williams was interviewed on Sunday, after winning her 18th Grand Slam title at the US Open, as she joined the ranks of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, she explained that part of what allowed her to relax into the tournament was the confidence she had gained through her successful summer of play.   My jaw dropped. Number 1 in the world, holder of 17 grand slam titles, three Olympic gold medals needs to boost her confidence? What does that mean for the rest of us mere mortals? For me, who finds myself often wondering if I am good enough for whatever I’m doing?   Then as I reread Rabbi Alan Lew’s (z”l) wonderful book, This is Real and You...

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Elul Blog Day 12 – Joy and Pain

Posted by on Sep 6, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Last night I read an article in the New York Times about the high rate of physician suicide. It made me incredibly sad, and I couldn’t quite shake it. I certainly didn’t want that to be my last image before sleep. So I switched to Facebook and found the video of two deer who stopped Golden Gate Bridge traffic running from San Francisco to the Marin Headlands. Deer running are always a joy to watch—the way they leap and spring forward—they almost force giggles out of me. I realized that I needed that release, that sense of joy, and the pleasure of watching nature and one of the most wondrous human-made structures—that is itself a suicide magnet (although soon we...

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Elul Blog Day 11

Posted by on Sep 5, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Yesterday I participated in a webinar by Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer of the Shalom Hartman Institute about Teshuva in a Time of Darkness. He spoke about how we know we are forgiven on Yom Kippur, and how are we supposed to deal with the uncertainty when God is absent (reminding me again how Judaism is so much about carving order out of chaos, how uncertainty is terrifying). At the end of this horrible, terrible summer when war, and trauma, and beheadings, and invasions, how we turn toward our true selves, how we mend our relationships seems almost superfluous.   The ancient rabbis also dealt with horrible, terrible summers—the destruction of the Temple, the place where...

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