Amanda Gorman’s faith meets Esther’s courage to commemorate a Purim story of resilience

By Student Rabbi Caitlin Brazner

Barely one month ago, this country exercised one of its more profound and significant rituals: the peaceful transfer of power from one political leader to the next.

The inauguration of a new president is a shining example of democratic excellence and a testament to our nation’s devotion to the groundbreaking ideals enshrined in our Constitution.

This year’s Inauguration Day proved no exception. Though threatened two weeks earlier by insurrectionist violence at the Capitol, the peaceful events of Jan. 20, 2021, affirmed Americans’ unflagging commitment to our democratic ideals.

Among the many fine speakers at the inauguration, one in particular stood out — 22-year-old Amanda Gorman.

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Just in time, Tu B’Shevat turns our attention to renewal and the possibility of something better

By Student Rabbi Caitlin Brazner

January is a time for new beginnings and fresh starts. As the calendar rolls over on our secular New Year, friends and family gather (admittedly, virtually this year) to celebrate and look forward in anticipation to what will be in the year to come.

We set new goals for ourselves, new intentions and resolutions. It is a time of hope and possibilities.

January is also a time for reflection. We think back over the last year and remember all that we’ve done and not done. We grapple with regrets; we remember those we’ve lost. While it may be a time for looking forward, so often we find ourselves looking backward as the New Year approaches.

This year is no different, although it has certainly been a hard one. We as a nation have faced bitter political disagreements, a virulent pandemic, wildfires and hurricanes. Our world has felt chaotic, out-of-order, overwhelming.

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Listen to the voice of the soul: ‘No feeling is wrong and no feeling is illegitimate.’ It’s OK!

By Betsy Frank

Three deaths recently occurred during a three-week period in our community. Two were expected, with the passing of Martha Silverman and Louise Sommers. But Terry Fear‘s death took us by surprise.

Expected deaths certainly bring sorrow and arouse memories of our experiences with those who have gone. We often reflect quietly on their passing. Sudden deaths are much harder to accept.

Ruchi Koval wrote feelings of sadness can co-exist along with acknowledgment of blessings. And she said, “That’s OK”.

In these dark winter months, we may acknowledge the sadness. It is OK! The soul knows this is important and the soul also knows that spring will, indeed, come again.

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UHC community agrees: Terry Fear helped forge an extended family in the congregation

On the first Shabbat following Terry Fear’s passing — one week after Terry had lit candles to begin the Temple’s virtual service — UHC members shared remembrances of their friend and colleague, who died suddenly Dec. 13 at age 66.

Among her many contributions to the congregation and community, Terry served as UHC vice president and secretary, led the Temple’s restoration efforts, coordinated special events in the sanctuary, served on the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center board and worked widely for social justice.

Most satisfying of all for Terry, friends agreed, were her efforts to introduce people she admired and appreciated to each other, to foster knowledge, understanding and personal growth.

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