Viktor Frankl’s words provide guidance as we search for meaning in time of uncertainty

By Student Rabbi Remy Liverman

Early this year, we observed Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), Yorn HaZikaron (Israeli Memorial Day) and Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day); all addressing tragedy and loss, as well as triumph over suffering and oppression, ending on a note of freedom.

Noting the duality in the way our tradition remembers the past, I considered the stark contrast of my current situation to that of a year earlier, when on Yom HaShoah and Yom HaZikaron, I stood still on King David Street in Jerusalem as sirens blared for two minutes.

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Every relationship contributes to a deeper wisdom, and farewell is a promise to return

By Student Rabbi Remy Liverman

Since the beginning of the secular New Year, our country has seen a great deal of turmoil. The U.S. is fraught with devastation, loss, anger and grief as we add deep civil unrest to a worldwide pandemic.

I talked about closure during my final sermon to the congregation. Now, as I wish you farewell, I’m reminded that Judaism’s method of saying “goodbye” requires some examination.

The term “goodbye” itself dates to the early modern period (occurring during the late 16th century) stemming from the expression, “God be with you”.

Although we can accept the “God” part, this is not a Jewish traditional farewell. The common term for goodbye in modern Hebrew (as I frequently heard during my year in Israel) is l’hitra’ot, meaning, “see you later.”

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At this year’s Passover seder, we are all the son who does not know how to ask

By Student Rabbi Remy Liverman

As we begin the Hebrew month of Nisan and prepare to celebrate Passover, never before has a discussion about plagues and a deep cleaning of our homes felt more relevant.

These strange and challenging times of COVID-19 would seem to take precedence over holidays. But there is so much we can learn from the seder, both in ritual and narrative.

We ask the Four Questions in Ma Nishtana: “Why is this night different from all other nights?”

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Temporary time of social isolation creates opportunity for ‘togetherness while apart’

By Student Rabbi Remy Liverman

Since I began as your student rabbi this past September, these monthly columns for my beloved congregants at United Hebrew Congregation have offered a breath of fresh air from the arduous papers assigned in rabbinical school.

But most importantly, this space has served as an outlet to express precepts our tradition teaches in relation to our everyday lives. I have found deep joy in the hope that my words might provide comfort, significance or an opportunity for learning.

Lately, however, I have struggled to compose thoughts that might bring meaning to your lives and the lives of your loved ones, amidst the challenges we all face daily during this pandemic.

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