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congregational life


Without her, there are so many empty places, empty sights, so much emptiness. Yet I never thought of retreating into the emptiness; I know my dear Phyllis wanted me to embrace life.

Joel Hersch
Colorful and intricate stained glass window depicting Moses holding the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments

In the early 20th century, stained glass windows were incorporated into many newly built, grand, European synagogues in a self-conscious act of cultural appropriation and affirmation.

Jenna Weissman Joselit
Young girl learning to shake the lulav

There aren’t many people out there willing to uproot their entire lives to relocate to Dothan, Alabama. Read what prompted one family to do just that.

Stephanie Butler
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


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