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Rabbi Jennifer Jaech's blog

A Death in the Family

Mon, 12/28/2015 - 12:00am -- Rabbi Jennifer Jaech

            “Did you see this?” a member of our congregation recently asked me, showing me the screen on her IPhone.  “I just got an email.  The Rosenthal JCC is CLOSING.   I can’t believe it.”
            I couldn’t believe it either.  I felt shocked and saddened.  It was like hearing of the death of a loved one.   

Paris and the Refugees

Fri, 11/20/2015 - 12:00am -- Rabbi Jennifer Jaech

After Paris

Like many of you, I have been following with a heavy heart the news of the horrific terror attacks in Paris.  Students of history know that one event like this can set into motion other events that reshape our world.  At the time of the 9/11 attack in 2001, we didn't know what would happen in the aftermath, but I remember feeling that nothing would be the same afterwards.  Indeed, that attack led to our nation's initiating two wars, one in Afghanistan and one in Iraq.

Selichot: Beauty at the Margins

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 9:51am -- Rabbi Jennifer Jaech

Although I have always loved to read, when I was an undergraduate, I avoided taking English classes.  I had always read books for enjoyment, for the pleasure of a good story.   I didn’t want to analyze the structure of a novel or think critically about what made the writing effective – I wanted only to enjoy books on a superficial level.   

Forgiving the Unforgivable?

Tue, 07/07/2015 - 12:00am -- Rabbi Jennifer Jaech

Forgiving the Unforgivable?

Last month's brutal murders of nine members of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina shocked and horrified me, as I'm sure it did you as well.  After the family members of the victims quickly offered forgiveness to the alleged murderer, I found myself engaging in several conversations both on-line and in person about the "Jewish perspective" of forgiveness. 

Cantors and Rabbis

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 12:00am -- Rabbi Jennifer Jaech

When he was a teenager, my husband David thought that he wanted to be a congregational rabbi.  He was inspired by the example of the rabbi at his neighborhood’s Conservative synagogue.  This rabbi gave excellent, elucidating sermons.  David thought that giving sermons and teaching comprised the main activities of a congregational rabbi.

A Simple Act of Kindness

Sat, 03/21/2015 - 11:16am -- Rabbi Jennifer Jaech

             It is easy to feel helpless in the face of the brutal acts and tragic events that mar our world.   On any given day our hope for a better future can be put to the test.  There is no better time than now to remind ourselves of the power of one simple act of kindness.

Adar Arrives: Time for a Laugh

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 12:00am -- Rabbi Jennifer Jaech

One of our members recently suggested to me that I make some of my Shabbat sermons available to read for those who are not able to attend services on Friday night.  This sermon was given February 20, 2015, after a week of frigid temperatures. 

I have spoken to a number of people in recent days who feel worn down by the winter cold, and by the bleak news of recent weeks. So tonight, I have some good news: According to the Jewish calendar, it's time to change our mood.  

My Mother's Bible

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 12:00am -- Rabbi Jennifer Jaech

This past Sunday I joined a small group of congregants in a creative spiritual workshop. The leaders of the workshop (Lauren Shenfield, Millie Jasper, Sylvana Trabout and I) had asked participants to bring in an object that reminded them of a loved one who had died. I brought my mother's Bible, with her name embossed in gold lettering on the cover. I was particularly moved by the cover because it was worn smooth from her hands. This Bible didn't sit undisturbed on her shelf. My mother read and studied her Bible daily; it was the foundation of her faith.

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