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congregational life

Torah with kippah and yad

The rabbi invited me to help with hagbah, an honor usually reserved for a strong man because some scrolls are extremely heavy – and the last thing anyone wants is for a Torah scroll to fall or be dropped.

Jane E. Herman
Womans feet barefoot on jagged rocks

With serendipity, I stumbled upon my youth Hebrew school lessons of pikuach nefesh, the concept of saving a life. It's our obligation to save lives whenever possible, even above observing the mitzvot or commandments.

Sharon Rosenblatt
Closeup of a mans hand with his index finger running across a Braille page

When I was 7, my parents ordered a braille prayer book for me from the Jewish Braille Institute. When I went to the synagogue with them, I proudly carried my siddur and tried to read along – but I didn’t yet know the Hebrew braille alphabet.

Arielle Silverman
Blond mother looking down as she tries to soothe a crying baby she holds in her arms

Somehow, I was able to switch my functioning self on and off, smiling and rabbinic at work but in howling despair at home. Finally, my OB/Gyn diagnosed me with postpartum depression.

Rabbi Sandra Cohen
Group of smiling people holding cardboard signs supporting Muslims

We wanted to let our Muslim neighbors know that as Jews, as Americans, and along with other faith groups, we embrace shared ethics of diversity, multiculturalism, and religious freedom.

Rabbi Paul Kipnes
Am Shalom congregants await arriving Syrian family

I’ve never been as proud of my congregation as I was when members gathered at the airport last week to welcome our family arriving from Syria.

Rabbi Steven Stark Lowenstein
Stone MLK statue in Washington

This year, Temple Emanuel of Greensboro, N.C., will hold its 22nd annual MLK Shabbat Service.

Rabbi Fred Guttman
Couple holding hands with no faces visible

Although you might think that Lisa, my Jewish-by-birth partner, asked me to take a URJ the Introduction to Judaism course with her, quite the contrary is true: I asked her.

Alex Lussenhop

In service, the ring of a phone serves as a rude disruption to our worship. But that same ring can also serve as a powerful and effective reminder.

Larry Glickman

With simple, everyday acts, I can keep alive the memory of our ancestors’ encounter with God and help perpetuate it into the future.

Rabbi Helene Ferris


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