Rabbi’s Turn

Suicide in Jewish tradition

By Rabbi Jaron Matlow, Special to The Jewish Sound In the last few years, the  ugly specter of suicide has  popped up twice in my extended family. In both instances, thank God, the  attempts were unsuccessful. Both were cases of despondency  over poor health and fear of  the unknown given the  health situations. Suicide is(…)

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Ten things you might not know about the Ten Commandments

By Rabbi Bruce Kadden, Temple Beth El Earlier this month we celebrated Shavuot, the holiday of “matan Torah,” the “giving” or “gift” of Torah. It had special meaning for our family this year because our first grandchild, Matan Aviv Ballon, was born on May 5, which was not only Cinco de Mayo, but the fifth(…)

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Transitions

By Rabbi Jessica Kessler Marshall, Temple Beth Or I sat listening as a group of friends shared about their lives: One had an 85-year-old father who had just been diagnosed with cancer. My friend faced the uncertainty of his dad’s surgery and personal guilt that he lived far away, thus burdening his sibling with parental(…)

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Why is it relevant to me?

By Rabbi Elie Estrin, Chabad at the University of Washington A schoolchild approaches his father, who is deeply engrossed in his newspaper. The kid asks, “Dad, what’s the difference between ‘ignorance’ and ‘apathy?’” Responds the visibly annoyed father: “I don’t know and I don’t care!” That joke might be old hat, but it’s one worthwhile(…)

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We must reach out to and embrace intermarried Jews

Rabbi Rick Harkavy, Bet Chaverim Congregation of South King County Before I was ordained, my entire rabbinical class met and discussed the Jewish influences within our lives that encouraged us to become rabbis. My colleagues spoke about the positive difference Jewish camps and Jewish youth groups and trips to Israel made upon their Jewish identity.(…)

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“In every generation”: Spiritual preparation for Passover

Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum, The Kavana Cooperative The sun is shining, matzoh is out on the grocery store display shelves, and it’s clear that Pesach is on the way. Time to prepare! For the past two years, I’ve been enjoying a haggadah that’s new to the scene: “The New American Haggadah,” edited by Jonathan Safran Foer(…)

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Are you heading in the right direction?

Rabbi Berry Farkash, Chabad of the Central Cascades It was a spring evening in the mid-’60s; a group of young students from NYU came for a private audience with the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson. The group was mostly young boys and girls from secular homes who wanted an opportunity to converse with(…)

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Become a story

By Rabbi Shmuel Brody , Ashreichem Yisrael Every once in a while, Seattle gets a visit from Old Jerusalem. An elderly fellow with a white beard, a full smile, and a strained walk, “Uncle Chaim from Yerushalayim” is how he is known. His sweetness and simplicity endears him to us all. And he likes to(…)

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Punching holes in the darkness

By Rabbi Will Berkovitz, CEO, Jewish Family Service The tradition tells of a blind man, holding a blazing torch, walking a dark road late one night. A rabbi coming from the other direction recognizes the man as he approaches and asks, “Why do you need a torch? It isn’t going to help you see in(…)

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One hundred blessings

By Rabbi Jill Borodin , Congregation Beth Shalom Rabbi Haninah, the son of Papa, says (in the Talmud, Tractate Berachot, page 35b): “Anyone who enjoys anything from this world without a blessing, it is as if they have stolen from God and the community of Israel.” What a statement — to be guilty for just(…)

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Why Birthright Israel is hafuch

By Rabbi Aaron Meyer , Temple De Hirsch Sinai So named for the little bit of coffee added to a greater quantity of milk, turning the norm on its head, or perhaps for the order in which the ingredients are combined, Cafe Hafuch, upside-down coffee, is the Israeli answer to cappuccino. Though pleasant tasting and(…)

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Thinking Thanksgivukkah

By Rabbi Lauren Kurland , Special to JTNews As you may have guessed from the incredibly close proximity of Labor Day and Rosh Hashanah this year, Hanukkah is also coming early — so early, in fact, that rather than coinciding with Christmas, its usual American holiday tango partner, this year it’s crashing Thanksgiving. Yes, that’s(…)

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Getting caught trying

By Rabbi Jay Rosenbaum , Herzl-Ner Tamid Conservative Congregation When we had a high school class on Muslim-Jewish dialogue last year, I asked our Herzl-Ner Tamid students to agree or disagree with the following statement: “There will never be peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” Nine of the 10 students agreed. These are students who(…)

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The candle is the mitzvah, the Torah is the light

By Rabbi Ron-Ami Meyers, Congregation Ezra Bessaroth For most Americans, November means Thanksgiving is just around the corner. This year, in an unusual confluence of the Gregorian and Jewish calendars, Hanukkah falls out on Thanksgiving. According to my sources, it will only happen again in the year 79,811! This year’s reality, then, offers a unique(…)

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