by Rebecca Einstein Schorr on 05 August 2014 @ 3:09 pm

It’s been so long that I can no longer remember what, if anything, I really knew about Tisha b’Av prior to rabbinical school.

All of that changed during my first year at HUC in Jerusalem.
Just a few weeks into our Israel experience, we were expected to mourn for something that we did not yet understand.
In 1994, Reform Judaism, with its historic rejection of the Temple cult and any desire for the construction of a Third Temple, had not yet fully articulated what Tisha b’Av might mean in a liberal and contemporary context.

But something changed as we sat in the courtyard on King David Street. Surrounded by the Jerusalem stone, in the shadows of the Old City, the words of Lamentations were no longer hidden from us. They were no longer theoretical. As with any kinesthetic learning experience, the text came to life as we mourned the loss of a place and a time that seemed so very palpable in our time and in that place.

And now?

Tisha b’Av makes sense in light of the very fragile cease-fire after nearly a month of fighting. From thousands of miles away, though, Jerusalem seems so distant. Chanting Eicha today — alone — does little to bridge that gap though I know that I am bound to our people through the text itself. And it is in the crevices of the texts and in the rise and fall of the trope that I seek them.

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Professional Peace-Maker

by Rebecca Einstein Schorr on 07 July 2014 @ 1:09 pm

I am really fortunate.

My life has brought me into relationship with some truly inspiring and amazing people.
Individuals who are compassionate. And brave. And filled with conviction. And the belief that they are able to help bring a modicum of peace to our broken world.

Andrea Berlin is one such person.

She has recently left the security of a position and ventured out on her own.
She is a peace-maker.
I don’t actually think that is what on her business card. It probably says something about conflict resolution…
But it should.

I always thought that my friend was pretty incredible.
Now everyone else will know it too.

Read more about how Andrea was able to seek a peaceful resolution in an everyday situation.
What might our world be like if we all thought like Andrea?



July 1, 2014

Barukh Dayan HaEmet. Blessed is the Eternal God of Truth. We say these words upon hearing of a death. The death of the eighty-six year old grandmother who lived a full and rich life. The death of the eight year old son Who barely left footprints on his journey. The death of the teenagers Whose […]

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Passover is Over: A Reflection

April 29, 2014

This was the year. In 2010, I gave myself until this year to make a decision about kitniyot. Of course, 5774 seemed like such a long way off… After several years of experimenting with the Pesach prohibitions, we have finally found what works best for our family. Rice? Fine. Beans? Fine. Peanut butter? Fine. Corn […]

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Stranger in a Strange Land

April 10, 2014

I think it has to do with Robert A. Heinlein. A dear friend introduced me to the genre of science fiction/fantasy. Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke. Among many, many others. And yes, Heinlein as well. Their stories have stayed with me and shaped me. But with Heinlein, he had me before I even […]

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Inappropriate Pressure

April 7, 2014

Last week, after months of planning, scores of rabbis from across North America shaved their heads as part of the #36rabbis project. (Here is the Rashi on the #36rabbis.) It was a transcendent experience. And one that has raised more than half a million dollars as the top St. Baldrick’s event of the year and […]

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March 18, 2014

Maybe that is what it takes. An invitation to participate. Perhaps that is why you haven’t given to the cause. SO consider yourself invited. Invited to donate to the #36rabbis. Invited to support the efforts of my seventy-two colleagues who are going bald to raise awareness. Invited to fund essential pediatric cancer research. Invited to […]

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*Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit!

March 17, 2014

If you don’t know what this means, then it doesn’t really matter what “they” say; apparently NOT everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. (*Happy St. Patrick’s Day! in Gaelic) Arriving at the salon for my Rosh Chodesh mani/pedi, it didn’t take more than a few moments to realize that everyone must have gotten the […]

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March 12, 2014

I’d like to report a theft. Purim has been stolen from our children. And from their grown-ups too. Adult-only Megillah readings and Purim shpiels deprive kids from watching the adults in their community observe the mitzvot associated with Purim. (This is not a joke.) When I was a kid, parents, grandparents, big kids, little kids […]

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Hello Again

February 20, 2014

So…I clearly needed a break. And it’s not as if I haven’t been writing or busy with the #36rabbis or that I haven’t had anything to say. I just kept it to myself. Now I’m back. And with a link to a piece that Ben has written about his experience at Jewish sleepaway camp. We’ve […]

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