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Rabbi Rick Schechter


Person sitting on a bench (in shadow) watching the sky

Our lives can get so hurried and hectic sometimes. With long hours of work, responsibilities at home, errands, bills, the breakneck speed of life set by the modern technologies that we love and can’t seem to live without, at times we need moments just to catch our breath.

“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy,” wrote Ira Gershwin in “Porgy and Bess.” Even in the year 2018, hopefully there is still some truth to this great lyric. If the livin’ is not easy, perhaps at least, it’s easier. Our burdens may lighten. The pace may slow a few notches. Nature may beckon us toward repose. These...

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Woman and dog sitting on dock facing the water at sunset

It’s an essential word in the Jewish vocabulary: shalom. It’s our greeting to one another in synagogue, a recurring theme in prayer and Jewish literature, and the final word in our most cherished blessing from God: “May God grant you shalom” (Num. 6:26).

More than peace, shalom means well-being, health, wholeness, and prosperity.

How can we achieve this most precious blessing in our lives – for our loved ones and ourselves?

Judaism and the science of flourishing come together to offer us a possible answer. According to Professor Martin Seligman, well-being can be...

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Declaration of Independence rolled up between two rolled up American flags

The people were oppressed, taxed beyond their limits. Their ruler was considered cruel and harsh – a tyrant. The people experienced an insufferable bondage. Liberation was required for a new and just society to be born. The overthrow of Pharaoh and the Israelite redemption from Egyptian slavery would prove to be the model and inspiration for the American rebellion against England and the founding of the United States of America.

I love sharing with adults and children alike just how important the greatest Jewish story ever told – the Exodus, the centerpiece of Passover this month...

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Man in business suit with messenger bag and helmet riding a bicycle

Did you make any New Year's resolutions for 2018?

To lose 10 pounds? To exercise more? To take better care of yourself?

Believe it or not, Judaism supports these popular aspirations at the turn of each new secular year. You may not think it given our penchant for fatty, rich foods during Hanukkah, Purim, and Passover. Oil, butter, and schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) aside, it’s a mitzvah (commandment) to be healthy and well. We could even go so far as to think of it as a foundational mitzvah.

Our tradition calls it shmirat haguf – literally, guarding the body. In...

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Woman with outstretch arms; eyes closed, face skyward; sun and trees in the background

“The old shall be made new, and the new shall be made holy,” wrote Rav Kook, chief rabbi of Israel in the 1920s and 30s. His deep insight exquisitely applies to the popular and growing field of positive psychology. This field is, I believe, poised to profoundly influence religion today and Judaism as we know it.

Simply described as “the scientific study of what goes right in life [and] those things that make life most worth living,” positive psychology’s tremendous growth and appeal is amply evident in dozens of titles at the bookstore, and thousands more on Amazon.


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