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Erev Shabbat Messages ...

Date Posted Title Excerpt
Sep 19, 2017 Laugavegur Street Since my trip to Reykjavik this past summer, I have become enamored with all things Iceland which is how I came upon the story of Noel Santillan, a 29-year old New Jersey man who became an overnight celebrity in the Land of Fire and Ice all because of a very small spelling error. You see, Santillan arrived at Keflavik Airport one February after a long international flight, eager to reach his hotel in the country’s capital, and thus typed “Laugarvegur” Street into his rental car’s GPS. Continue reading
Sep 12, 2017 No Questions No Class A story is told of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, the legendary teacher at Yeshiva University – a great philosopher and Talmudist – who demanded that his students prepare rigorously for each class. Often he began his class by asking if any of the hundreds of students crowding his lecture hall had any questions on the assigned text. Many of the students had reviewed the material and yet they feared to ask, lest the questions reveal their ignorance to their teacher. Once, when not one of the hundreds of students dared ask a question, Rav Soloveitchik demonstratively slammed his Talmud closed and walked out saying, “No questions? No class.” Learning begins with questions. Continue reading
Sep 5, 2017 Welcome Back Happy Labor Day! While the unofficial end of summer is definitely bittersweet, it’s nice to see the synagogue begin to fill up again as families return from vacation, children come back to the Academy, and our programming year kicks off in earnest starting with last Friday’s fabulous Shabbat in the Shade BBQ and block party. We hope that the last few months have been relaxing and fun for everyone and look forward to hearing about adventures near and far. If you have a minute, please stop by and say hello next time you’re in the building! Continue reading
Jun 27, 2017 I Scream, You Scream Ruggelach. Apples and honey. Chocolate gelt. Believe it or not, these are real ice-cream flavors developed by the kosher brand Chozen, a New York-based creamery created in 2009 by mother and daughter entrepreneurs Meredith and Ronne Fisher. Indeed, the Fishers may be the most creative purveyors of frozen treats around, but there is a long and proud history of Jewish involvement in the ice-cream industry whether it be Haagen-Dazs Continue reading
Jun 20, 2017 Let’s March for Pride! Marching in the Chicago Pride Parade last June as part of BHCBE’s first ever delegation to this event was one of my favorite days of the entire programming year! Coming just weeks after the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, the walk afforded many of us the opportunity to actually do something about the difficult state of our world and speak out for our values in a tangible way. Many of us felt motivated to take part in the march out of love for a particular LGBTQ individual (or individuals) in our lives while others were inspired by a broader sense of commitment to civil rights and social justice. Continue reading
May 31, 2017 Safe Travels When I was in rabbinical school I spent two summers working as a hospital chaplain at Beth Israel Singer Division under the wonderful direction of Reverend Trudi Jinpu Hirsch, a Buddhist monk and CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) supervisor. Of all the many amazing rabbis and teachers I have had in my life, Trudi is amongst the very most influential, helping me to learn about holy listening and conquering fear, speaking one’s truth and the sacred power of presence. She also taught me a great deal about gratitude. Continue reading
May 24, 2017 Lighting Up the Eyes I’ve always been a terrible liar. When I was a little girl, it was my body that would give me away. I would fidget or blush or avert my face, and my parents would always know that I wasn’t being honest with them. Even as I got older, however, and learned to hide my fibs in more sophisticated ways, my parents were never fooled by my small acts of deceit. My eyes always gave it away. Continue reading
May 9, 2017 Counting Up These days you can do just about anything on a smart phone! And this includes, evidently, creating a customizable count-down clock which will tick off the seconds, minutes, hours, and days until an occasion of your choosing. Not surprisingly, lifecycle events such as weddings or the birth of a child tend to be most popular for this kind of treatment along with peak moments like retirement, although some of the online count-down clocks I saw marked time until baseball season or Thanksgiving or even tax day (presumably for planning purposes rather than out of sheer joy for April 15). Continue reading
May 2, 2017 More Exciting Than the Moon Thomas Friedman tells the story of the late Neil Armstrong, a devout Christian, who visited Israel after his trip to the moon and was taken on a tour of the Old City of Jerusalem by Israeli archeologist Meir Ben-Dov. When they got to the Hulda Gate, atop the stairs leading to the Temple Mount, Armstrong asked Ben-Dov whether Jesus had stepped anywhere near where they were now standing. “Jesus was a Jew,” Ben-Dov replied. Continue reading
Apr 14, 2017 A Band-Aid on the Seder Plate My teacher, Dr. David Kraemer, tells the following story about a Passover he celebrated many years ago when his daughter was little. On seder night, the Kraemer family gathered together for candle-lighting and recited the blessing, finishing with the words l’hadlik ner shel Yom Tov – Praised are You, God, who commands us to light the holiday candles. Continue reading