When I teach the brachah of opening your eyes, I do an exercise asking everyone to close their eyes tightly for a while, then open them wide. The room usually appears brighter and looks a bit different. As I ask people to open their eyes I ask, what do you see?
While most possessions are just “stuff,” some things are sentimental, and their loss can be profound. The Torah this week reminds us that the responsibility to care for others extends well beyond tending to people’s physical needs.
Was it the summer of 2015 or 2016? On one of those first Fridays, Ilene Safyan was at it again, lending her voice and her spirit to our Erev Shabbat service. She had asked me if it was okay to play her own setting for the lovely Hashkiveinu prayer.
One of my favorite cookbook authors died this week. Edda Servi Machlin was one of the generation of Italian Jews who survived the fascist Italy of World War II before making her way to the United States. She had grown up in the small but ancient Jewish community of Pitigliano (in Tuscany), and recorded many of her childhood memories in her first book, “The Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews.”
Have you ever wondered if Labor Day was a misnomer? After all, it is the last time, until Thanksgiving, when many people don’t have to work. Be that as it may, the professional staff at CNS has been working at full bore, preparing both for the upcoming holidays and the programming year.
As you read the laws of the Torah, you can see they are as much about our relationship with God as they are about our own personal choices. The essence of Jewish law, “love your neighbor as yourself,” is about loving others, but it first assumes that we love ourselves.