Like the Maccabees of old, we can dispel the darkness with faith and Jewish pride

By Student Rabbi Matt Derrenbacher

With so much of our time spent in the dark (before the winter solstice occurs Dec. 21), this time of year can be particularly difficult for a lot of us.

The pandemic rages on; antisemitism continues to run rampant in communities and on college campuses; social and political division drives communities, friends and even families apart.

It is at this time of deep darkness that we need to let the light in. But how do we accomplish this difficult task?

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A breath of divine air renews the process of creation as the Torah cycle begins again

By Student Rabbi Matt Derrenbacher

Each year, the Hebrew month of Tishrei can feel like an absolute whirlwind. We have Rosh Hashanah, Shabbat Shuvah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot … and finally we round out the month with Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah.

Amid this parade of holidays, we take some time to reflect on the year gone by and begin to look forward to the year that is to come.

Up to the point of Simchat Torah, we have celebrated the New Year, atoned for our sins and eaten/prayed/slept in sukkahs to commemorate our ancestors’ journey through the wilderness to the Promised Land.

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Student Rabbi Matt Derrenbacher: Let’s heal relationships with others, and ourselves

By Student Rabbi Matt Derrenbacher

Hello United Hebrew Congregation of Terre Haute!

My name is Matt Derrenbacher and I am a fourth-year rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati.

I am super excited to spend this coming year with you all, praying, learning and creating meaningful Jewish spaces together.

During this month, we listen to the beautiful blasts of the shofar and begin to look inward and evaluate the past year.

Mah nishtanah ha-shanah ha-zeh? How is this year different than other years?

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