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The Weber School In the spring of 2008, I announced to my students at The Weber School that I was taking a sabbatical to complete the manuscript of Found in Translation: Common Words of Uncommon Wisdom and to be more available to my family. I planned to spend a year replenishing my spirit and reorienting my rabbinate to focus on adult education...

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American Guild of Judaic Art New Vision. New Website. New Year. This new “virtual” home for the Guild was created by dedicated  members from all over the country with different talents and skills, who worked diligently to make the site easy to use, informative and—most importantly—the best venue to display AGJA members’ art.  I stand...

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Neshama Interfaith Center Marian Monahan, a founder of the Neshama Interfaith Center, speaks in the voice of a prophet. She preached these words on Mother's Day at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Atlanta, and has graciously allowed me to share them here: Those of you who know me are aware that I'm quite involved in the interfaith...

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Encountering Angels: Reading Genesis with my Children In this book, my children and I blend traditional Jewish learning and personal experience in our commentary on Genesis, making it unlike any other book written about the biblical text and rabbinic literature related to Genesis.  Like most books of biblical commentary written by rabbis, it examines the text through the...

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Pamela Jay Gottfried is a rabbi, parent, teacher, artist and author. An inveterate Scrabble player and New York Times Crossword Puzzle fanatic, she credits her love of words to her parents, who encouraged her to develop her vocabulary through reading and using the dictionary at an early age. Since her ordination from...

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What Rabbis Do on Weekends

rwb_logo196I’m at the Rabbis Without Borders blog on MyJewishLearning.com this week, sharing the story of my weekend at the beach with two friends who are also RWB colleagues. If you enjoy reading the RWB blog, follow us on Twitter for updates: @rwbclal

Weekend at the Beach: My plan was to enjoy a Shabbat getaway and Sunday morning at the beach with Rabbi Rachael and her family. Having missed her daughter’s baby naming celebration, I was eager to visit before summer vacation surrendered to a new school year. When Rabbi Ruth, also free this weekend, offered to drive with me… Read more →

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The Weber School

weber logoIn the spring of 2008, I announced to my students at The Weber School that I was taking a sabbatical to complete the manuscript of Found in Translation: Common Words of Uncommon Wisdom and to be more available to my family. I planned to spend a year replenishing my spirit and reorienting my rabbinate to focus on adult education and interfaith connections.

This seven-year sabbatical is now coming to an end. I’m thrilled to be returning to the classroom—the same classroom I used to share with Chaya Lieberman—to teach 9th grade. I’ve missed being in school, missed my students and my colleagues. Walking through the front door earlier this week, I felt like I was coming home.

There is much to tell—I’ll write more about my back-to-school experiences in the months ahead—and even more to do: decorating the classroom, coordinating the curriculum and assessments with Chaya, taking a photo for my new ID badge. These three weeks before students arrive are filled with tasks, and I’m breathless with anticipation.

Thanks to everyone for the congratulatory wishes, especially Aunt Cynthia, who encouraged me to get something new to wear on the first day of school. Mission accomplished.

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TGIF

It’s Friday morning.

Because, in many ways, every day at camp feels exactly the same, I consult my calendar every morning to double-check the day and date.

In some ways, though, Friday morning is different. Knowing that Shabbat is imminent, I feel eager to start the day.

In just a few hours, the rhythm of the day will shift and there will be an undercurrent of energy in the air as campers and staff begin Shabbat preparations. I’ll finish teaching campers an hour before lunch, and I’ll clean the studio and shut it down for 36 hours.

After lunch, I’ll head straight to my room to make Shabbatograms to deliver at Kabbalat Shabbat, the service just before sundown when we welcome the arrival of the Sabbath. We’ll light candles before sunset and sing Psalms. The energy will shift once again–the buzz of anticipation replaced by an easy calm–as the relentless pace of daily life at camp is disrupted by joy-filled celebration.

Shabbat at camp bears no resemblance to Shabbat at home, or anywhere else in the world.

“And the skies and the earth and all their array were finished; and God finished on the seventh day the work God had done, and God rested on the seventh day from all the work God had done.” (Genesis 2:1-2)

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