Author Archives: Rabbi Barbara Symons

Personal Inoculations

Posted on by Rabbi Barbara Symons

Primarily still working from home, I am not out a lot and certainly not out in crowds. Except for last Friday. That was when I returned to Squirrel Hill to get my second vaccine. Due to social distancing, the line … Continue reading

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Why Shouldn’t This Night Be Different From All Other Nights?

Posted on by Rabbi Barbara Symons

I learned that the four questions are optional.  They were meant to be an if-all-else-fails to get the children’s attention, then break glass (so to speak) and use this emergency device.  Yet not one of us could imagine a Seder … Continue reading

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Welcome Home, Kind Of

Posted on by Rabbi Barbara Symons

To: Jews by Choice From: Israel Subject: Welcome Home, Kind Of On Monday, March 1, per the Times of Israel (3/1/21): the Israeli Supreme Court voted to allow for Conservative and Reform conversions to be accepted regarding the Law of … Continue reading

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Where Did Schmoozing Go?

Posted on by Rabbi Barbara Symons

We used to schmooze. And we were good at it. Perhaps even experts. As much as many of us see one another via Zoom, we don’t schmooze before or after a class or service, while standing at the oneg table, … Continue reading

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The Proof is in the Pudding

Posted on by Rabbi Barbara Symons

Do you like pudding? And when you think of pudding, do you think more of bread pudding or of the gelatinous dessert that goes well with whipped cream or in a pie? I never ate much pudding. But when I … Continue reading

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The Rainbow (Parashat Noach 5781)

Posted on by Rabbi Barbara Symons

Parashat Noach 5781 I am sorry to say, but I have a problem with the rainbow in the Noah’s Ark story. And I love rainbows. After every rain when the sky begins to clear, I go outside seeking rainbows. I … Continue reading

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Words Create (Kol Nidre 5781)

Posted on by Rabbi Barbara Symons

Kol Nidre 5781 Most services don’t have names. Last night, Kol Nidre “All Vows,” is named for the words and accompanying haunting tune which pleads with God: “if after honest effort we fail to keep our vows, promises and oaths, … Continue reading

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Filling the Cracks: Systemic Change (Rosh HaShanah AM 5781)

Posted on by Rabbi Barbara Symons

Rosh HaShanah Morning 5781 The cracks were showing before but we could ignore them more easily. We knew that when people said “that is a good neighborhood” it meant that people of color didn’t live there. We knew that people … Continue reading

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A New Life Span (Sukkot 5781)

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Sukkot Morning 5781 Did you hear it? The Book of Life was just sealed. 5 days ago as dark descended on Yom Kippur, our Yizkor candle went out. Once again already, our frailty stands before us, challenging, inviting. What is … Continue reading

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Words Count

Posted on by Rabbi Barbara Symons

Mask. Pandemic. Synchronous. Asynchronous. Insurrection. Fake news. Suppression. Zoom. Tweet. Uprising. This is just a portion of the new vocabulary that swirls around us in print, on our devices, through the news and in conversation 24/7. These are words that … Continue reading

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