Ann Greenstein’s Mincha Moment

By Ann Greenstein

I understand that our 8 minute drash is to be in the style of something one might hear on the Moth Radio hour. I think I am going to flip that on its head and get the punchline out of the way first.   Why am I Jewish?- The short answer to the question and hence the punchline is I don’t know any other way to be.   My Jewishness is intertwined with my identity, my worldview, my sense of humor, my politics, my spiritual practices, in sum, I don’t know where I end and my Jewishness begins.   Unwinding the meaning of the statement “ I don’t know any other way to be” has unfolded over my lifetime showing up in different ways at different times.   I am a child of the 70’s -Our family belonged to a conservative congregation that like so many others moved from the...

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Midge Shafton’s Mincha Moment

By Midge Shafton

It's so wonderful to see so many faces in here today, compared to an empty room on my computer screen. How does Judaism play a role in my life?  I was telling a good friend of mine, that this is what I was going to be doing this afternoon and she said, "what else is there?" So, I'm going to tell you my story, Judaism plays a role in my life in many ways. I am going to concentrate today on family, nuclear family, extended family, friends, local and national family, and global family. I come from a family where both my parents are active in the Jewish Community. My father came from an Orthodox family and was a first-generation American born. Whereas, my mother was a third-generation American born, and her family was Reform. In 1933, when they got married, it was sort of a mixed marriage. My mother...

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Donté J. Young’s Mincha Moment

By Donté J. Young

As I reflect on the role that the Jewish faith plays in my life, I would first have to reflect upon how I became a converted member of the Jewish faith. As a young child growing up in suburban Central Ohio, I was raised by a beautifully loving and conservative Christian Baptist family. Over my formative and youthful years, I would learn how important my faith was to me, my family, and those around us. God would also serve as the head of our family’s core values, and we would navigate through the journey of life.   As I grew and developed, I recognized who I was wholesomely and in the most profound ways, loving myself in the deepest of ways to put forth that love and energy into my friends, family, loved ones, and the world itself. This would make me pridefully live in my truth as a young...

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Looking Towards The Future

By Andrew Mitzenmacher

I've always had a hard time picturing the future. I'm an optimistic at heart, never want to limit my options. My great grandparents, great villagers on one side. Eastern European Jews leading the pilgrims on the other ever envisioned me, let alone my children, who are part Japanese, Polish, and Irish without know specifically what I hope for it to look like. My guidance for the future comes from looking to the past. My grandparents and parents were dreamers, who were willing to take risks to find joy and love in the world with faith, family and empathy they moved forward to create a life for their descendants that they couldn't have imagined until it happened. They had Faith deep down that god create a fundamentally good world for us. We're taught that god left flaws for us to work to repair to give purpose and meaning to our lives;...

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Rosh HaShanah Reflection

By Jack Tepper

A couple weeks ago the rabbis came up to me and asked me to answer the question, "what Jewish wisdom would help me ring in the New Year." Now, I had some ideas on how to answer this. But, first I had to answer and ask myself, "What is Jewish wisdom?" So I went searching. I asked myself, my parents, and finally I asked Google.  And, after many days, of trying to figure out what I wanted to speak about, I came across a quote. This quote was from world famous Jew, Jerry Seinfeld. He says, " the greatest Jewish tradition is to laugh. the cornerstone of Jewish survival has always been to find humor in life and in ourselves". Now, I known there is not a book of jokes in the Torah. But, laughter is truly a Jewish tradition that gets me through the year. I love the time...

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Shofarot Section, framed on the power of Jewish learning and tradition.

By Juliet Spector

What jewish wisdom sustains you as we enter this new year? Psalm 121 – “I lift up my eyes to the mountains. From where will my help come? My help comes from God, who made heaven and earth. The Eternal will not allow your foot to give way. The One who guards you will not slumber. For the Guide of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. The Eternal is your Keeper; God is your Shade at your right hand. The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. God shall protect you from all evil and will keep your soul always. The Eternal God shall guard your going out and your coming in, from this time forever more.” This year was the 5-year anniversary of my father’s death. And a week after the anniversary, we lost my father-in-law. It is human to feel very alone during these...

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Rosh HaShanah Reflection

By Jonathan Solomon

  I’ve always been an Fall person.    We all have our own associations with this season: the return of cooler weather, the cozy sweaters, and Pumpkin Spice Everything. And, of course, and the sound of the Shofar.   I confess, I love it.     At a personal level, my own modest hopes of sitting in my chair and reading a book, maybe with a cup of tea beside me, come into crisp autumnal focus.    But there are other things about the fall that make me hopeful. For my children, and for me after twenty years of teaching, this is the start of the of the new school year, a miraculous annual opportunity to restart, surrounded by new faces in new places and to welcome the learning of new things.    I know that for many birth and growth is reasonably associated with the spring: plants blooming and little...

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Another New Year

By Niki Tovin

  As I stand here, this morning, on the bimah preparing to listen to the ancient sound of the Shofar welcoming in another new year. My thoughts are of the journey that brought me to this moment.  In 1980, my husband's career necessitated our relocation to Chicago. Needless to say, it was difficult leaving our two sons, dear friends, and our beloved home in the rolling hills of Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, to head towards a city unfamiliar to me located somewhere between the east and west coasts. To my delight, I soon discovered that Chicago was a beautiful city located on the shore of the amazing Lake Michigan. With world class museums, along with highly acclaimed symphony, dance, and theater companies. But, best of all, the people warmly embraced us and introduced us to Chicago Sinai Congregation that to this day enrich our lives. Looking back at my first high Holy...

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The Shofar Call To My Memories

By Emil G. Hirsch III

82 years ago I stood on this Sinai’s bimah, then on Grand Boulevard and 46th Street, with 132 other fourteen-year-old boys and girls, and was confirmed in  our Jewish faith by Rabbi Dr. Louis Mann.  I recall at the beginning of the Jewish year on Rosh Hashanah in 1939, for the  first time attending high holiday services with my grandmother Hirsch who  had assigned seats on the left center aisle about ten rows back. The  prayerbook we prayed from was the English translation by my grandfather  Emil, of the prayerbook written in German by my grandmother’s father, Rabbi  Dr. David Einhorn; which he authored in 1855 when he came to the United  States to become Rabbi of Temple Har Sinai in Baltimore.  At that Sinai service in 1939, many congregants introduced themselves to tell  me about my grandfather, Rabbi Dr. Emil G Hirsch, and their encounters with  him. I, much...

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