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Rabbi Sharon G. Forman

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Mother and daughter sitting back-to-back

In the first biblical story, God creates the vast universe according to a specific pattern and order. On the first divine-sized day, God separates day from night and light from darkness. Then, God evaluates the handiwork proclaiming it “good.” On the second day, God separates the lower and higher waters to divide the seas from the heavens. On this day of creation, God neglects to declare it “good.” On the third day, though, after creating all the lovely and colorful flowers, fruits, and trees, God twice declares the work to be “good.”

It’s no surprise that ancient rabbis had an...

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stop sign with bullet holes

Recently, my son and daughter participated in a lockdown drill at school. Chattering about it on the car ride home, 13-year-old Josh blithely recounted how he cowered under the newly installed shatterproof windows in his math classroom as someone in the hallway tugged on the door to make sure the teacher had locked it. Although he had been well prepared for what he knew was a drill, my son confessed to feeling a bit nervous when the lock was jiggled. His older sister, Abby, hid in the boys’ locker room, calculating the number of doors an intruder would need to breach before reaching her...

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Wooden nested dolls un-nested

This year, as summer folded into fall, we celebrated our son Josh becoming a bar mitzvah. Before he chanted from the handwritten letters inside the Torah scroll, our rabbi called to the bimah (pulpit) the generations that have preceded him. Like a small acapella singing group, my husband and I, my parents, and my mother-in-law gathered to pass the Torah to Josh – physically and metaphorically.

Dubbed “the Torah pass” by the founding rabbi who started the tradition in our congregation, our rabbi has continued this emotional ritual. Holding the scroll aloft then cradling it, he walks...

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After 10 years in our home (which bore more than a passing resemblance to the rustic bunks at URJ Eisner Camp), my husband and I decided to renovate. In the end, we learned about framing and municipal engineering permits, but even more about patience and flexibility.

With the work well underway, loose wires dangled from the kitchen ceiling, and our once-tidy garage looked like a dump, with mounds of sawdust, paint cans, and abandoned coffee cups littered everywhere. A port-a-potty and a trailer adorned the lawn, which sported a bald spot where workers excavated a dry well.

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The mezuzot (plural of mezuzah) snuggle next to one another in a ceramic bowl like a litter of newborn puppies seeking each other’s warmth. Peeking out from painted purple butterflies, the golden crown of a Hebrew letter shin reflects a ray of thin February light bouncing off its companion’s metal covering. Shards of the blue glass my husband stepped on at our wedding sparkle in a test tube inside the twisting copper of another family artifact – a mezuzah designed especially for wedding couples. An elephant trunk on my sons’ Noah’s ark mezuzah has broken in half, releasing the intact...

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