YOM KIPPUR — It’s not always easy to forgive others. At times, it’s emotionally easier to bear a grudge than to let go of slights. Having a hardened heart means we are impervious to continued hurts. But it also means it’s difficult to let love and friendship into our lives. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is a day of forgiveness. It is important to come to Yom Kippur with a clean slate. According to tradition, we are to ask each other for forgiveness and give others forgiveness before Yom Kippur. Once we are forgiven by others, we fast...Read More
ROSH HASHANAH — Rosh Hashanah is perceived as the Jewish New Year, but it is so much more than that. It is time to reflect on the quality of relationships with friends and family and compare yourself to the way you were a year ago. Rosh Hashanah, according to the tradition, gives you a time to make amends to family and friends. Use the days leading up to Rosh Hashanah to go through a process of introspection and evaluation with your family, thinking and talking about habitual problems and conflicts that are difficult to change. Seeing other family members,...Read More
SHAVUOT — Parents naturally want their children to do well in school. We are concerned when they, for one reason or another, are not flourishing in school, and this gives us anxiety regarding their futures. We do all we can to address whatever problems or obstacles seem to be in their way. There are times when children feel a great deal of pressure from parents and teachers to do well in school and often this pressure can be counterproductive. The Jewish holiday of Shavuot sheds a different light on the meaning of study. This holiday, marking the receiving of the Torah by Moses on Mount Sinai, is...Read More
PURIM — From the time we are born, our identities begin to evolve. In certain instances however, our identities become fixed over time, especially as they are formed in relationship to siblings. “She’s the smart one”, we think to ourselves. “He’s the one good at sports”. “She’s the one with the special needs; I’m the perfect one”. We often define ourselves in relation to another sibling, especially if parental expectations solidify those identities. Overstressed parents, who may have a child with problems or special needs, might expect another child to be “perfect” or at least more self-sustaining. Such expectations...Read More
TU B’SHEVAT — On our daily journeys we pass by so much of value that we barely notice. For instance: trees. Our very lives depend on trees. They provide us with fruit, shade, paper, often the homes we live in, and much of our furniture and other objects that we use on a daily basis. They are also a source of beauty and respite. Despite their importance, they tend to become the backdrop for our lives– easy to pass by with barely a thought or a glance. Jewish tradition celebrates the New Year of the trees. It is called...Read More
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