A Shabbat Mindset

There is a great deal we do as rabbinical students to understand and prepare for Shabbat. We study why we light two candles on Shabbat and what prayers to recite and songs to sing. We contemplate what it means for us to really rest for one day of the week. At the root of Shabbat, though, is community. In 2020,…

You Shall Be a Light unto the Nations | לאור גויים להיות

Each summer, third-year rabbinical students at HUC engage in a fellowship, working for various foundations and synagogues, serving as teachers and Jewish leaders in the communities they serve. This summer, I took a different route: I spent the summer in Montgomery, Alabama, beginning my service as a chaplain candidate for the United States Air Force (USAF). This meant that, for…

A Lesson from My Rabbi

When I learned that I would have the pleasure to serve a second summer as Rockdale Temple’s Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati rabbinic fellow, I was beyond excited for the opportunity. I foresaw a summer leading prayer and learning alongside the fabulously gifted Rabbi Meredith Kahan, while Senior Rabbi Sissy Coran enjoyed a much deserved sabbatical. Sadly, that summer would never…

Putting Relationships First

The summer of 2020 was our first summer of coronavirus. I was scheduled to be the Jewish Foundation (TJF) intern working with the chaplain at the Cedar Village assisted living community. As I set up the project, I envisioned sitting with the residents, learning their stories, and recording their favorite meals and memories. The summer was planned to culminate with…

Abundance in Community

There was a village on the bank of a river. One day, a young girl saw a baby floating downstream. She immediately rescued the child and brought him to the village leaders. The next day, two babies were found. Then three the next day. Then four, five, six. Soon, the river was flooded with babies, and the village mobilized to…

From Ordinary to Extraordinary: When Work Complements Life

This past summer, I learned what it means to have a vocation—not just any job, but one that truly satisfies. A fulfillment of calling.  From May through August of 2019, I had the privilege of serving as the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati rabbinic fellow at Valley Temple in Wyoming, Ohio. With the guidance of the senior rabbi there, Rabbi Sandford Kopnick, I…

Dungeons & Dragons, Passover, and Jewish Education

Every year as spring rolls around, we gather together to celebrate Pesach—the transition from winter to spring, from death to rebirth, from slavery to freedom. At this time, Jews all over the world come together to celebrate our ancestors’ exodus from Egypt by way of sharing a ritualistic meal with one another, a seder. Through this shared meal, we retell…

Jewish History Jumping out of the Classroom

Biblical times to modern day Israel—that was the syllabus I was handed for my Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati fellowship at Isaac M. Wise Temple. While I love history, teaching all of Jewish history in the course of a year felt overwhelming. I was happy to work with my education director at Wise and the other sixth grade teacher in trying…

From Disability to Discovery

Like all good Jewish children should, I call my mother often. Our usual chats, often car-bound, touch on the usual suspects: work, family, and the state of the world. We talk so often that our conversations seem to blend together. I love talking to my mother, but I couldn’t recall the majority of our conversations if my life depended on…

Multi-Experiential Activities Are Not Multi-Tasking

This past school year, I served with Rockdale Temple’s Rak Noar class as their Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati fellow. Alongside a very experienced educator, I taught a classroom full of seventh and eighth graders. Engaging with a classroom of B’nai mitzvah–age teens has been a completely new experience for me. As a second-career rabbinic student, and coming from a smaller southern synagogue…

We Can’t Fix Everything

Setting: A Torah study group at a long-term senior residence in Cincinnati. Harriet: I wish more people joined us today. But people forget we’re meeting. People here forget everything. There are so many people who are forgetting their memories. Me: That sounds really hard. Shirley: People forget things, but there are so many people here with interesting stories. I just…

ללמד ולאהוב — L’lamed V’le’ehov — To Teach And To Love

ואהבת את ה׳ אלוהיך בכל לבבך, ובכל נפשך, ובכל מאודך—“And you shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.” — Deuteronomy 6:5 I love to teach—with all my heart, soul, and might. And I love my kids, the students I teach. There is nothing more magical than the moments when…

Together, with Intention

This past summer (2019) I had the honor and privilege of being the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati fellow at Temple Sholom synagogue. It was a wonderful summer, full of new experiences and challenges. Rabbi Terlinchamp was on sabbatical throughout the summer, and I was very fortunate that the lovely staff and community of Temple Sholom greeted me with open arms.…

Listening to My Heart

Relationships in life don’t really end, even if you never see the person again. Every person you’ve been close to lives on somewhere inside you. Your past lovers, your parents, your friends, people both alive and dead (symbolically or literally)—all of them evoke memories, conscious or not. Lori Gottlieb, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our…

Creating the Cincinnati Multifaith Calendar

This summer, I had a fellowship at the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue. I helped to create the Cincy Multifaith Calendar, an online resource designed to help students talk about their faith traditions and learn about the traditions and identities of their classmates. We gathered representatives of the major faiths in the Cincinnati area to write calendar entries for the holidays…

Living at Livingston

Last summer I had the privilege to be the Judaic director at Camp Livingston in Bennington, Indiana. Camp Livingston is a pluralistic Jewish overnight camp tucked into southeastern Indiana. When faced with deciding which Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati fellowship I preferred, I knew I wanted to be at camp. I grew up attending a variety of camps as a Jewish…

Uplifting/Lifting Up Their Stories

A woman recounted the painful loss of her husband and snippets of her childhood in New York, including fancy dinners and theater outings with her father, who was a food critic. These outings, she shared, led to her career as a clinical nutritionist. She spoke with pride about her two children. Unfortunately, there are few with whom she can talk.…

Israel and Its Many Narratives

Israel has always been important to me, but living in Jerusalem during my first year of rabbinical school deepened my connection to the land and the people. Working for the Cincinnati Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) this past summer allowed me to expand my knowledge of modern Israel and hone my skills in teaching and talking about this complicated place.…

Emunah and Avodah: Joining Belief and Action in Sacred Work

On the last day of his life, as the Israelites are preparing to enter the Promised Land without him, Moses offers his final teachings and directives to the Jewish people. He assures the Israelites that Torah—and the teachings and commandments contained therein—is not beyond them to uphold after he leaves them. Torah doesn’t live in the heavens and it isn’t…