Category Archives: Community Blog

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Engage in a New Conversation about Israel with Open Circle Jewish Learning and iEngage

Few subjects in Jewish life today evoke as much controversy – and anxiety – as the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. So when we decided to offer the Hartman Institute’s “iEngage” video curriculum, “Jewish Values and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” in our Adult Education program at Temple Israel of Natick, I wasn’t quite sure how it would go. Every summer the Hartman Institute brings hundreds of Rabbis and lay leaders from across all… Read Article →

Community Blog sunrise suburb

Gratitude in the Morning

On a recent drive to preschool, my 4-year-old daughter and I were talking about how we say “thank you” to God at bedtime. She asked, “Can we say thank you in the morning too?” I responded to my daughter saying we can say thanks whenever she wants, and that our tradition has a special morning prayer just for this purpose called Modeh Ani. מוֹדֶה אֲנִי לְפָנֶיךָ, מֶלֶךְ חַי וְקַיָּם, שֶׁהֶחֱזַרְתָּ… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

Speaking Torah: Mi Yodea. Who knows?

I have come to believe that the most important verse in the entire megillah—the verse that represents the pivotal turning point in the Purim story – comes near the end of chapter four, when Mordechai sends a message to Esther, urging her to reveal her identity to King Achashverosh and plead on behalf of the Jewish people.  Remarkably, Mordechai’s message to Esther hinges on two simple words – two words… Read Article →

Community Blog Lara Dyan Cohen

Hitting ‘Reset’ on My Parenting

“Mommy,” my eight-year-old daughter asked, “How did you learn how to take care of babies and kids? How did you know what to do?” What timing! It was early Sunday morning and we were driving to Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley; she was going to attend Limud Hebrew School, and I was going to attend Parenting Through a Jewish Lens with Rabbi Philip Sherman. As all parents quickly discover, there… Read Article →

Community Blog T Shalom 2018 Heather

The Value of Community

The tumult of work commitments, aging parents, children with different needs, nurturing relationships, and hobbies — how can anyone possibly balance all of that while caring for young children — not to mention caring for oneself? While Parenting Through a Jewish Lens (PTJL) doesn’t provide easy solutions, it does offer a framework for discussion and thought, a chance to delve into age-old wisdom and modern interpretations. As the instructor for… Read Article →

Community Blog Leah Raub and Gershon

Letting Our Values Lead the Way…

Parenting Through a Jewish Lens has been a truly introspective and transformative class. Not only was our instructor Jeff Amshalem a thoughtful and insightful leader, but were we surrounded by other parents who lent new ideas and camaraderie to the daily parenting struggles we so often sweep aside. Jeff encouraged us to look at parenting from various angles and pinpoint what our ultimate goals and dreams are for our children…. Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

Speaking Torah: The Capacity to Understand

The command—not to oppress the stranger—is rooted in our own experience of strangeness.  It is repeated no fewer than 36 times in the Torah, but, in this week’s parasha, I imagine how it must have sounded to the ears of those newly freed slaves who stood trembling at the base of the mountain—exhausted, elevated, and called to radical empathy. Remember all that you have been through, and then translate it… Read Article →

Community Blog renee

Showing Up to Wrestle with God

In preparation for facilitating my first PTJL group I perused the curriculum and was very excited by the themes and accompanying texts that we would be exploring together.  What parent couldn’t identify with the joys and “oys” of parenting?  However there was one question that kept nagging at me: what happens if God-talk is a real stumbling block for some in the group? How do I navigate that gracefully, making… Read Article →

Community Blog Holly Rossi

The Power of Parenting in Community

A phrase I often repeat to my son comes from Mister Rogers: “There’s no person in the world like you; and I like you just the way you are.” As the first six weeks of my Parenting Through a Jewish Lens (PTJL) class came to a close at Temple Isaiah in Lexington, I found myself thinking of that phrase in a different way. I realized, there are no parents in… Read Article →

Community Blog snow day

In Praise of This Very Moment

My 5-year-old son just walked himself next door to play with the neighbors. Getting ready for the fifty-foot journey, with the temperature hovering around 12° and plow berms rising higher than he is tall, he fought with me. Sitting down may make it easier to get his snow pants on, but it’s screamingly awful that I’m right about that. The zipper gets stuck, and when I reach out to help… Read Article →