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Cantor Katie Oringel

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Golden brown turkey, potatoes, and mushrooms in a roasting pan

The anniversary of the first time I understood a joke in Hebrew comes each November. Many years ago, while in ulpan (Hebrew language learning) our professor declared with a smile that the unofficial psalm text for Thanksgiving is from Psalm 118: Hodu l’Adonai ki tov. 

There was a chuckle at one end of the room, and slowly, as each student translated and understood, we all laughed.  

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Black and white image of Cantor Katie Oringel teaching students outdoors in Israel with only her rainbow kippah appearing in color

An Israeli teen visiting Toronto recently told me, “It is easy to be Jewish in Israel but hard to be Reform. In Canada, it is hard to be Jewish but easy to be Reform.”

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately.

When I arrived in Toronto 10 years ago, wearing a kippah (head covering) was not part of my practice, nor did it seem to be for most women. I decided the best way to teach young women they could wear one was to begin to do so myself. In time, it became a reminder of the holiness of my work as clergy, from enjoying laser tag with youth group kids to chanting Kol...

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