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congregational life

Womans hand holding a coffee cup next to a pen and a pad of paper

Earlier this month, I joined a Virginia synagogue's virtual Shabbat services, led by its youth group teens. Afterward, I composed and sent an email to the congregation’s cantors to tell them how touched I was by the service and to express my sincere gratitude to them.

Parisa Vinzant
Little girl sitting on her mothers lap and pointing at a laptop screen where a hand is lighting shabbat candles next to a loaf of challah

Frankly, I was skeptical about attending services online – but it was the occasion of the yahrzeit (anniversary of death) for my wife’s brother, and this was our only option for respecting her wish to recite the Mourner’s Kaddish with our Jewish community.

Howard Richard Debs
Home office setup with a Shabbat scene displayed on screen

Instead of walking into Beth David’s sanctuary and settling into the wooden pews, my husband and I perched next to each other in front of my MacBook Air and logged onto Zoom, a video conferencing tool.

Helene Cohen Bludman
Closeup of a mans hands over a laptop keyboard with heart icons above it as if to signify online connection

As human beings, we crave social interaction. If we can’t physically gather to pray, kibitz, learn, nosh, hang out, and volunteer, how can we function as a community?

Audrey Merwin
Group of children in costumes under a sign reading THE LITTLE MERMAIDELEH

What makes for the perfect Purim-spiel? Cantor Marnie Camhi, who serves Temple Beth Miriam in Elberon, N.J., has become a bit of an expert. 

Aron Hirt-Manheimer
Rabbi Stephanie Alexander leads a Havdallah service behind the bimah with two others

Rabbi Stephanie M. Alexander received her undergraduate degree from Tulane University, and ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Aron Hirt-Manheimer
Hand holding an iPhone with the RogueShul Twitter account pulled up

The creators of @RogueShul chatted with us (anonymously by email, of course!) about the project, the feedback they’ve received, and exactly why their account is so darn relatable for so many of us.

Kate Bigam Kaput
Rabbi Rick Jacobs on stage at the URJ Biennial

Did you ever wonder what happened to the 10 Lost Tribes of ancient Israel? In 721 B.C.E., they disappeared. Poof. Gone. Imagine if we could find them today? Our Jewish community could increase to as many as 85 million worldwide. 

Rabbi Rick Jacobs
Posed photo the The Soul Children and director Walt Whitman posing with the staff of Am Shalom synagogue

Rabbi Steven Stark Lowenstein, senior rabbi of Am Shalom on Glencoe, IL, has a special relationship with Dr. Walt Whitman and his celebrated youth gospel choir, The Soul Children of Chicago, which will be performing at the upcoming Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Biennial.

Aron Hirt-Manheimer
Pegs in a wooden board connected by white thread

In the year since the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA, I’ve been thinking about the antisemitic thread that runs through the tragedy.

Rabbi Seth L. Bernstein


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