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Jewish Journal

The First Mitzvah of 5775

By Susan Esther Barnes

5 days ago

I'm glad to say that after the afternoon children's services, the honey was in honey sticks. Photo by Susan Esther Barnes

As usual this year, our synagogue sanctuary was filled to the brim for Rosh Hashanah services. The services were full of beautiful music, the sounds of the shofar, sincere prayers, and... read on

  • The Abuse We’re Still Not Talking About

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    2 weeks ago

    The news about the NFL’s Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson has put a spotlight, for the time being anyway, on domestic abuse. Whether it’s hitting a significant other or hitting a child, important issues are being raised about abuse, what proof of wrongdoing is required, what punishment... read on

  • Doing Right Doesn’t Always Feel Good

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    3 weeks ago

    The word mitzvah, or commandment, is often mistranslated as “good deed.” This is partly because many of them are, in fact, about taking care of one another. Visiting the sick, comforting a mourner, and giving money to a person in need are all great examples of this.

    Generally,... read on

  • Five Days a Week

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    September 3, 2014 | 1:30 am

    A couple of weeks ago I went to the doctor about an annoying but not life threatening issue, and the treatment she prescribed didn’t resolve it. So I sent her an email, and she replied with a new diagnosis and suggested a new prescription. She said I would need to use the new... read on

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  • Inside and Outside

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    August 27, 2014 | 1:30 am

    When I was at Limmud Bay Area this summer, there was a project there called, “From Selfie to Groupie.” Participants in this project were asked to write three things about their Jewish identity on white boards mounted on a background, and then take a “selfie,” or, in this case, have... read on

  • When Society Loses Its Balance

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    August 20, 2014 | 1:30 am

    For many of us, especially we privileged white folk, the world in which we conduct our lives may seem like a pretty solid, predictable, trustworthy place. It’s easy to forget that society only works when almost everyone believes they are better off when they follow society’s rules.... read on

  • O Captain, My Captain

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    August 11, 2014 | 5:11 pm

    Sitting here at my desk, I feel like crying. I notice a post on my Twitter feed from Rabbi Joe Black, asking, “Why does the death of Robin Williams hit so hard?” It’s an excellent question. Suicide is always so sad. It always feel like it could have been prevented, although God... read on

  • Is it Over?

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    August 5, 2014 | 10:31 am

    As I write this, the 72 hour ceasefire appears to be holding, and the IDF has withdrawn its troops from Gaza. The unpredictability of this conflict, however, makes it impossible for me to write with any confidence that by the time it is read it will not be hopelessly out of date.

    ... read on

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Susan Esther Barnes is a religious Reform Jew who can regularly be seen greeting people at her synagogue before services. She is a founding member of her synagogue’s chevra...

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