BESHALACH — Woody Allen has said that 90% of life is showing up. Maybe his number is too high but being willing to get involved, to step out, to show up, to make the phone call, to make the appointment, to introduce yourself, can bring outsized results. Taking the initiative can give you momentum to carry you to your goals. In our parsha this week the Israelites left Egypt and were cornered at the sea by on-rushing Egyptians. The Israelites were terrified and about to give up hope. The only one who had the courage to walk into the sea...Read More
BESHALACH — “This is boring!” “When are we going to get there?” “He has more toys than I do!” Children can get into the habit of complaining and whining again and again. They often seem not to notice their many gifts and blessings and simply complain as if they live a life of hardship and deprivation, despite how much they have. In this week’s Torah portion, the children of Israel do likewise. After passing through the Red Sea and arriving safely in the wilderness, the first thing they do is whine. “We don’t have any food or water!” “We’re...Read More
VA-ERA — Try telling a teacher, parent, or friend that you just HAD to do something they deem inappropriate. Nine times out of ten, the response will be “That’s ridiculous! Nobody can force you to do something!” We have a deep belief in, and awareness of, our freedom to choose when making decisions. In Va’era, this week’s Torah portion, God informs Moses that He will harden Pharoah’s heart and Pharoah will refuse to release the Jews from captivity. Pharoah’s heart is ‘artificially’ hardened, but the rest of us are in fact free to choose between right and wrong. The contrast is deliberate. Throughout life, one encounters decisions. As we grow, the...Read More
TORAH PORTION: SHEMOT Heroes inspire us. They move us to action when otherwise we might remain stagnant. They are especially important for children, who need role models as they figure out how they want to live in the world. Heroes can be found everywhere, not only in the usual places like history and storybooks, but even in your own extended family or neighborhood. It’s possible to find heroes just by opening one’s eyes and ears to those who are standing up for what’s right wherever they happen to be. Our Torah portion is filled with heroes. All the heroes...Read More
CHANUKAH — It’s that time again. Cold weather brings thoughts of the Christmas holiday. There are Christmas vacations, sales, parties, street lights and more. Children get very excited by images of Santa Claus and colorful Christmas trees with brightly wrapped gifts underneath. It’s hard for Chanukah to compete with all this. Showing children that there is something from their own tradition that can bring them light and joy is an important message. While Chanukah, within the scope of Jewish tradition, is a relatively minor holiday, it carries with it some important messages, as well as lots of fun for children. Just as Christmas and many other festivals worldwide do, Chanukah...Read More
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