WRJ's Blog

I recall my high school years as an intense time of personal growth – understanding who I was, how I saw the world, which values resonated with me and which actions best expressed those values. Some learning occurred in the classroom, but some took place at synagogue. I have vivid memories of our Torah-based debates during confirmation class – a dozen or so teens sitting in a circle, guided by a young student-rabbi, discussing the issues of the day with a Jewish lens. I didn’t realize it then, but these discussions were part of the foundation of who I am today and how I view the world....

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Columbine High School, April 20, 1999 - 15 dead, 21 injured

Virginia Tech University, April 16, 2007 - 33 dead, 23 injured

Oikos University, April 2, 2012 - 7 dead, 3 injured

Sandy Hook Elementary School, December 14, 2012 - 28 dead, 2 injured

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, February 14, 2018 - 17 dead, 14 injured

Will the list continue?

On March 24, just over a month after a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student used his legal semi-automatic rifle on his teachers and fellow classmates, Reform Jewish women joined together in...

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“Why?” As children, we wonder about the color of the sky, and we ponder the rules of the games of the playground. Eventually, we start to ask bigger “why” questions: Why do some people have everything when others have nothing? Why do bad things happen to good people? The questions never cease. Even when the questions are hard or the answers are not apparent, it is human nature to ask. This is the way that God created us. When the mysteries of life puzzle us, we still seek to understand.

The Torah portion for this week seems to offer us more questions than answers. The events of...

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Yom HaShoah is typically a somber time to reflect, and for me personally, to be angry at the world. It is not generally a holiday to which I look forward. A small part of me wants the day to hurry up and be over, but I know that this day should be observed, so I do.

This year was different, however. My congregation, Congregation Kol Ami in Flower Mound, TX, hosted a very unique ceremony, designed to commemorate not only the terrible things that happened but also the strength with which we met them, to celebrate our survival while mourning our dead. My experience at this Seder-like...

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There was a girl who used to journey from her home into the woods every day to pray. She would leave her house, walk the long path winding through the trees, and pray to God. Upon finishing her prayer, she would walk the long path back home. Since this was the girl’s daily ritual, her mother noticed and asked her, “Why do you go to the woods to pray? You know, you can pray anywhere because God is the same everywhere.” The girl responded, “God might be the same, but I’m not.”

The obvious lesson of this story is that there are different environments and places which help each of us...

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