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September 2019 Rabbi Shafrin's Article

Turning Over a New Leaf

As we move through the month of Elul and into the High Holiday season and the New Jewish year of 5780, it’s worth taking a moment to appreciate how many incredible things we have been able to mark as a community. New members have joined our community and entered our world. We have stood up for one another, and for people around the world, when they were vulnerable. We have come together to celebrate our greatest...Read more...

July 2019 Rabbi Arnow's Article

“When do I bow, and why do some people fully prostrate?”

“Can I learn some of the songs we’ll sing?”

“What am I supposed to do during the Priestly Blessing? And what are the Kohanim (priests) doing under their tallitot, anyway?”

“And how exactly do you sound the shofar, because I’d like to try to see if I could do it.”

These questions will be the focus of the High Holiday prep classes...Read more...

March 2019 Rabbi Arnow's Article

I was fascinated and delighted to have more than twenty people come to the series of classes I taught on kashrut and serving as a volunteer mashgiach (kosher supervisor). This was a very different kind of class from what we usually teach at Kol Rinah. Usually, the focus is on the meaning we can derive from the texts. For example, Torah Talk is usually focused both on better understanding the text of the Torah, but also thinking about the...Read more...

January 2019 Rabbi Arnow's Article

One of my favorite things to do is prepare for Torah Talk. I love opening up the Etz Hayim Chumash, and just reading through that week’s portion, until I find a few words I don’t understand, or a detail I never noticed, or something that seems interesting or unclear. I’ll open up a Mikraot Gedolot, a “Great Scriptures,” an edition of the Torah with lots of classic commentaries on it to see if there’s much on the thing I’ve...Read more...

November 2018 Rabbi Arnow's Article

Holidays, Late and Early Is Hanukkah late this year? Is Passover early? When is Purim? These are questions we all hear every so often, so perhaps it’d be helpful to explain a little something about the Jewish calendar. The solar calendar is about 365 days, whereas the lunar (i.e. Jewish and Muslim) calendar is 354 days. So, every year, the Jewish calendar slips 11 days earlier in relation to the solar calendar. If Passover is on April 11,...Read more...

September 2018 Rabbi Arnow's Article

Before saying something about our High Holiday prayer options this year at Kol Rinah, I want ask something about prayer generally. Is it better to pray when you’re supposed to, or when you feel moved to? Is it better to pray the prayers that well up inside you, or the prayers other people wrote that are in the prayer book? The answer to both of these questions is, of course, “Yes!” Although we tend to focus more on fixed prayer—prayer...Read more...

July 2018 Rabbi Arnow's Article

The Right Questions What are the right questions to ask a person you see at shul? Here are some suggestions: “How are you feeling today?” “For whom are you saying Kaddish?” “My name is ____. What’s your name?” “How can I help?” “Could I sit next to you?” or “Would you like to come sit next to me?” “Can I introduce you to _____?” If someone has been sick, they may not feel like going into their whole medical...Read more...

May 2018 Rabbi Arnow's Article

Blintzes, Torah and Community Shavuot has always been one of my favorite holidays, for reasons that have changed over the years. Growing up, I fastidiously observed a gastronomic Shavuot by eating mountains of cheese blintzes. My great-grandmother, who passed away in October of 2009 just a few weeks shy of age 107, was for my childhood, the blintz-maker par excellence. The blintz-making gene skipped a generation (and from my father’s side of...Read more...

March 2018 Rabbi Arnow's Article

A Spirituality of Fundraising I recently experienced an unexpected benefit of sharing space with the Journey. Last week, I picked up a pamphlet The Journey had extra copies of entitled “A Spirituality of Fundraising,” by 20th century Catholic theologian Henri Nouwen. Nouwen writes with Christian vocabulary, but the wisdom is universal. “Fundraising isn’t a response to a crisis. Fundraising is, first and foremost, a form of ministry [or...Read more...

January 2018 Rabbi Arnow's Article

JANUARY 2018 MESSAGE FROM RABBI ARNOW I want to share with you three short reflections on the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s biennial convention, this year in Atlanta, from which I recently returned. (The USCJ is the umbrella organization of Conservative synagogues.) Kol Rinah’s president, Randi Mozenter, and past president Harriet Shanas were also all there. Harriet has long been involved with the USCJ, and is slated to become...Read more...

November 2017 Rabbi Arnow's Article

Law Meets Life at Kol Rinah Part of the rabbinical school application asked applicants to read a few books from a list provided, and one of the books I read was Rereading the Rabbis: A Woman’s Voice, by Judith Hauptman. I remember being inspired by the way Dr. Hauptman, a Professor of Talmud at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, read ancient texts closely to uncover the ways in which the rabbis of the Talmud were actually...Read more...

September 2017 Rabbi Arnow's Article

Renewing the High Holidays What is the quality you are seeking when you arrive at shul on Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur? And by “quality” I mean the essence, attributes, or characteristics of the experience. There are so many different things for which we yearn at High Holiday services. Is what matters to you relational—seeing, being and interacting with people you care about? Is it participation—co-creating the experience? Is it...Read more...
Sun, September 22 2019 22 Elul 5779