Posts Tagged: Sacred Conversations

Finding God, Finding Community, Finding Meaning



I had a difficult childhood. I joined a synagogue when I was 30, and I attended services fairly regularly, but I hated God. For me, God was the Old Man in the Sky, distant and remote, and constantly demanding praise. How could I pray? How could I thank a God who had given me my […]

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Yom Kippur in Vietnam



by Michael Rankin, M.D.Capt., MC, USN (Ret) Yom Kippur, 1965, I was a Navy medical officer stationed aboard a destroyer off the coast of Vietnam.  The ship’s captain had promised us an hour or two to hold a service Kol Nidre evening, but late in the afternoon the ship went to battle stations.  An Australian […]

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Finding Comfort in a Caring Community



by Lori Freedman Temple Beth Shalom, Austin, TX During the Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe, it is customary to go to the cemetery to pay respects, or as I say, ‘visit’ those you love. This year, during this time, I was fortunate to be in the same city where my dad is buried.  December […]

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Nitzavim: A Memory



by John E. Hirsch, PhD I wrote this drash in honor of (or is it in memory of) the fiftieth anniversary of my bar mitzvah on 21 September 1957 at Temple Beth Israel in Macon, Georgia. At not quite 13 – my birthday was the next day, the 22nd -  it was, for so many […]

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Discovering Meaning in Jewish Observance



by Barbara Shuman Ever since I was a young adult, I have felt called to wrestle with Jewish texts and ideas. I yearned to understand how to live a good life in relation to others, to experience the transcendent mystery we call God, and know the profound joy of  “aha moments.”  I believed that meaning […]

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Public Affirmation



by Janine PrestonTemple Or Rishon, Orangevale, CA Anyone who really, really knows me was not surprised to receive the announcement of my conversion to Judaism. When I very seriously told my two best friends from college about my decision last fall, they started to laugh. “Janine,” they said, “you have been talking about this since […]

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Feeling Jewish



by Stephanie Seiberg Temple Emanuel, Kensington, MD When I decided to convert I wondered often if I would ever really feel Jewish? I never could have anticipated that the death of my non-Jewish father would be the event that would take me there. I had married a Jewish man several years before my father died. […]

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Finding My Neshama‘s Voice



by Aya Betensky In the early ’80s, in New Jersey, we “converted” from Conservative to Reform Judaism (a story in itself) and started going to Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick. At our first Friday night ser­vice, we were amazed to find a woman cantor with a beautiful voice, who welcomed us by stepping […]

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A Moment of Gratitude



by Suzi NeftTemple Sinai, Pittsburgh, PA I was scared to death! Coming from a violent marriage with a young son, Alex, who I was trying to protect and educate Jewishly. We practiced Jewish traditions at home and attended High Holiday services at my mother’s Conservative synagogue. Alex’s father, a non-Jew, agreed before marriage that our […]

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Tender Hearts



by Amanda FrohmanHoly Blossom Temple, Toronto Ontario To touch someone’s life, to have one’s heart be touched…how often I longed to feel that special spark, to feel touched by God’s grace. In my imagination, a spiritual moment would assume the form of Divine intervention. But in my reflection, it was a simple class trip and […]

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Her Memory is a Blessing



by Deborah BaberTemple Emanuel, New York, NY At the end of October in 1984, I left Birmingham, Alabama after a fabulous, two-month stint working on a bound-for-Broadway musical while staying with my mother who resided there. Mom and I had been estranged for many years. But this visit was a breakthrough! We spent hours together […]

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You Were Only Waiting



by Leon AdatoOriginally published on The Edible Torah For a long time, I carried around with me a very depressing mental image for the Beatles song “Blackbird”. I would relate it here, but I’ve been told by enough people that it ruined their enjoyment of the song so I usually just keep it to myself. […]

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My Personal Torah…



by Carol Gunnerson Prelude to the dawn: Without an alarm clock, I have a habit of waking up early… between 4:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m.  I do this because I love the peace and silence of those wee hours. I move about stealthfully… consciously… fixing tea without a sound. I don’t want any noises to […]

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“The Rabbi and the Rosary”: on Parshat Vayetzeh (Genesis 28:10-32:3)



by Rabbi Gary M. Bretton-Granatoor Vice President – Philanthropy, World Union for Progressive Judaism All stories that teach a lesson are “true,”but some are also factual.This story is true and factual…Based on an event that occurred in 1999   Although my role as Program Chair of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC) placed […]

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