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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In pursuit of justice, we must teach our children the facts of intolerance and discrimination

By Student Rabbi Remy Liverman

During my first semester in graduate school, I took a class on religion and politics. My professor practiced the Muslim faith. The morning after the 2016 presidential elections, he shared with the class that his six-year-old daughter had asked him over breakfast, “Daddy, today at school, should I tell people I’m not Muslim if they ask me?”

During a discussion on Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness as part of a new social and racial justice program at The Temple in Atlanta, a woman described what she taught her children about “the protocol for being pulled over as a black person by the police.”

I am not a parent, and I do not judge any of these mothers and fathers for the way they answered their children’s questions or instructed them on how to behave in specific instances.

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