Shabbat shalom. My name is Stacey Ashlund, and I have 2 children that grew up here at Beth Am - Amelia is 16 and Brendan is 19. My son is now a sophomore at Lewis and Clark college in Portland, OR. When he was born, and soon after, we learned he was profoundly deaf and would lose his vision also, due to a rare genetic disorder called Usher Syndrome. Some of you may have heard Rebecca Alexander speak here a few months ago about her experience losing her vision and hearing. It is a devastating diagnoses for the individual as...
Hi. My name is Lexi Tuch. I am a senior at Kehillah Jewish High School, and I have been a
volunteer with Friendship Circle since I was a freshman. Friendship Circle is an organization
which matches Jewish teens with children with severe developmental disabilities and creates
programming for them twice a month. These pairs are called buddies. For the children, this gives
them an opportunity to be social and join an accepting and unique community. For the teens, this
can be an eye opening experience that can completely change their perspective.
Throughout my time in...
In our Confirmation Class—much as in life—we learned about some fundamental Jewish concepts, and then would wrestle to better understand the complexities inherent in each of them. What I especially appreciated about each of our sessions together, was that no single concept had a single truth or understanding. Judaism gives us a wide spectrum of possible beliefs.
The spiritual path of faith -- in Hebrew, Emunah -- was one which deeply touched me. I have lived a good deal of my life trying to better understand this concept and how it applies to life in general, to relationships with other...
In our Confirmation class we explored a range of Jewish spiritual paths. I realized that many of them involve giving or doing for others. For example – giving tzedaka, performing acts of loving kindness (chessed), supporting the Jewish community (K’lal Yisrael). And I have long believed that acting to help others defines both a good Jew and a good person.
Every year at Rosh Hashanah the Jewish community asks – How can I do better? I always see this as a call for me to look at ways that I can do more for others. However, this year at Rosh...
Rabbi Marder asked me to talk about one of the Jewish spiritual paths we explored in our Adult Confirmation class. I chose the Jewish idea of faith -- though all I can really talk about is my own conception of faith.
Years ago, I had trouble with the idea of faith, because I believed in science, and I felt that scientists were skeptical of supernatural activity, and thus had no need of God.
Fortunately for me, Judaism does not see skeptics as second-class citizens. Judaism does not require faith statements as a sign of legitimacy. Judaism does not ask...