My First Book

by Rebecca Einstein Schorr on 18 May 2016 @ 9:42 pm

It’s my first book.

Not the first time that I’ve been in a book. But the first time that I’ve edited a book. And it feels amazing.


I wonder if I will ever tire of seeing my name in print??

(More to come about the book…)

A true #shehecheyanumoment.


Omer or Teach Us to Number Our Days

by Rebecca Einstein Schorr on 04 May 2016 @ 4:44 pm

count omer

Each and every moment of every day has sacred potential or, as 20th century theologian, Martin Buber taught, every area of life can be divided between the holy and the not-yet holy.

Take the time period between the start of the second day of Passover and the start of Shavuot. Each one of these forty-nine days is marked with a blessing that ties it to our agricultural roots and the eventual first grain offering in the Temple on Shavuot in ancient days.

Hang on just a minute!!!

    • The Temple no longer stands.
    • We no longer journey to Jerusalem to offer God the first fruits of our labours.
    • In fact, there are no first fruits of our labours. (Unless you happen to be a farmer…which most of us are not.)
  • Yet, we still follow the practice of counting the days of the omer???

    Yeah. Basically.

    My kids love this tradition. For starters, kids love countdowns. (Though technically this is a countup.) I don’t know if it’s because countdowns provide a framework for the intangible passage of time. Or the instant gratification of crossing off a day or putting a sticker on the day or however the countdown works.

    Each day of the omer means we are one day closer to the festival of Shavuot, which celebrates the giving of the Torah. It is traditional to eat dairy foods on Shavuot and in our house, that means a Make-Your-Own Sundae Bar. (‘Cause that’s how we roll.)


    Last night was Tuesday night. And on Tuesday nights, Jacob is always completely knackered.

    [After school, Jacob has two hours of Hebrew school, grabs a quick dinner, swim lessons, homework while Lilly finishes swim practice, and then home to eat again and fall into bed.]

    I pulled out the Omer calendar and we recited the blessing and put the sticker on the day. We chatted for a few minutes and just as I was about to start the Sh’ma, Jacob said, “hey, we didn’t do the omer.”

    I reminded him that we had done it, but he said that he was so sleepy that he didn’t remember saying it.

    We have to say it again so that I remember saying it. Better safe than sorry.

    “Better safe than sorry” sounds like a great plan, right? Covering one’s bases and all.

    However, there is a principle in Judaism called safek b’racha. Jewish Law, in an attempt to prevent one from taking God’s Name in vain, prohibits us from making a b’racha levatalah (wasted blessing). Repeating a blessing “when in doubt” might actually cause one to make a wasted blessing thereby taking God’s Name in vain. The determining factor is whether the commanded action is Biblically-mandated or Rabbinically-mandated.

    If the action is mandated by the Torah, then one should repeat it. If mandated by the Rabbis, one should not repeat it.

    Omer is commanded in the Torah. So we could have just repeated it.

    Instead, Jacob and I had a chat about what is gained by repeating the blessing versus what might be lost if one doesn’t repeat it. In that moment, I was aware of God’s Presence.

    Because — and this is kind-of the entire point — it’s the conversation that makes this holy. Technically, it’s the blessing that elevates the moment. But as a parent, it’s when my child and I delve into a topic that I feel God’s Presence sitting beside us.

    So, yes. As the Psalmist taught, we shall continue to number our days (Ps. 90:12). And invite the Holy One to reside with us as we share our most sacred moments.


    On My Nightstand: Jewish Spiritual Parenting

    February 10, 2016

    Just because I took a hiatus from the blog does not mean that I stopped reading. *** There is no lack of parenting books available to the modern parent. But once you get down the basics such as feeding, clothing, and caring for your baby, the hard part begins. How to rear a child with […]

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    Calendrical Conundrums

    February 8, 2016

    I am a stickler for tradition. That being said, I am not unpliable. *** The Jewish calendar gives shape and momentum to my life. Each week gears up and moves towards Shabbat. Fifty-two times a year, I think about eighteen minutes prior to sundown on Friday and work my way backwards. What shall I serve […]

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    Forty-Five Rotations

    February 3, 2016

    Forty-five. 4.5 miles on the treadmill. That’s 18 laps. Eighteen. Life. Birthday call from child #1. Birthday cake from child #2. Birthday hugs from child #3. Photos from the beach from Husband #1. (Just kidding — I meant to say my #1 Husband) Who happens to be in the BAHAMAS. FOR WORK. I have loved […]

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    A Positive Bureaucratic Experience: A True Story

    January 13, 2016

    No one likes going to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles)…or the DOT (Department of Transportation), as it is called here. Even the most basic task becomes onerous when faced with a lengthy wait while crammed into narrow rows of uncomfortable chairs. Now imagine that you have autism. And sensory issues. Ben is fifteen. At […]

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    Weekly Roundup: Evian, but not the water

    September 4, 2015

    The note reads: Make sure Mrs. Barkawi teaches about “Evian Conference” pg 307. I had never heard of the Evian Conference until I was at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel during my junior year of high school. It was then that I learned that the world had had the opportunity to prevent the […]

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    On My Nightstand: Hiroshima

    September 2, 2015

    Along with the books I read of my own choosing, I also read the required books that are assigned to Ben. I started doing this when we first noticed he was struggling with reading way back in elementary school. Some of the titles are ones I’d read long ago, but most of them are new […]

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    Pictures in My Mind

    August 31, 2015

    I love snapping photographs of my children. I try not to go overboard. For their sake as well as for mine. Today, we went on an adventure. Something that we don’t do very often. It’s hard to do things with Ben. It always has been. And, unfortunately, we got in the habit of taking the […]

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    Weekly Roundup: Planning Ahead

    August 28, 2015

    I’m not exactly certain when it happened, but Lil has a new hobby. Baking. Not the Dunkin Heines kind of baking. The “from scratch” kind. Take earlier this week. Ben got his braces removed and Lilly wanted to make something that had been on the list of forbidden foods. “Caramel,” she said. Except Ben isn’t […]

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