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Rabbi Sandra Cohen

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Young man sitting on a retaining wall looking at the water

Feeling the presence of God, in my experience, is a hit or miss deal. In working with people – often in pastoral care, spiritual direction, or the conversion process – I often joke that if I show up every Shabbat to light candles, and God shows up five times a year, we will meet. But if I appear only five times a year, as does God, the odds of the two of us being there at the same time drops precipitously! 

Experiencing God takes work and discipline, but who wants to hear that? 

I don’t necessarily feel close to God every time I pray or every time I am in synagogue with my...

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Background figure gently holding an image of the brain on a bed of light in open palms of the hand

It was a friend of mine who said it – a therapist, in fact. In talking about her husband’s very difficult ex-wife, and, by way of dismissing her as a mother – or even, really, as a person one could take seriously at all – she said, “She’s borderline.”

She was referring to borderline personality disorder, a real and oftentimes difficult mental health diagnosis. People with this diagnosis may experience depression, fear of abandonment, unstable yet intense relationships, feelings of emptiness, mood swings, suicidal thoughts and gestures, and more.

Yes, that may indeed make...

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

My beautiful, screaming daughter was born May 30th. I finished my job as an assistant rabbi on June 30 and began serving a small congregation as a part-time rabbi on July 1st. Shira continued to scream. The congregation was loving, supportive of my leadership and new ideas, and embracing of my family. My rabbinate was flourishing – but inside, I was dying.

I can still feel the tears running down my face as I sat, holding my daughter as she screamed at my breast, refusing to nurse. If I could not breastfeed her, I thought, it must be my fault. And so we cried together, each seeking...

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