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Jewish Journal

Thirsting for Shabbat

By Susan Esther Barnes

August 22, 2012 | 8:00 am

Photo by Olaf Herfurth/Wikimedia

Summer is always our busy time at work. For reasons I won’t go into here, this year it’s been even more busy than normal. I have worked into the evening more than I care to, and have... read on

  • Coming Out As Jewish

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    August 15, 2012 | 8:00 am

    A couple of weeks ago I was going through a presentation for a couple dozen people, and I mentioned I’m Jewish. I was surprised when the reaction included more than a few gasps. I wondered what they were thinking. This was in a city on the main freeway between San Francisco and... read on

  • The Art of a Shiva Minyan

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    August 8, 2012 | 8:00 am

    A year or two ago, the cantor of our synagogue gave a class on how to lead a shiva minyan, which is a prayer service for a person who has died. Usually, it is held in the home of a loved one. The word shiva means “seven,” and traditionally a family will observe shiva for even... read on

  • My Blog is My Prayer

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    August 1, 2012 | 8:00 am

    If you asked me whether I pray, my initial reaction would be, “Of course I do. I pray at services on Friday night and Saturday morning. Every morning I say ‘Modah Ani’ to thank God that I am still alive. I pray every day.”

    In a sense, those prayers aren’t my prayers. They... read on

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  • In Between in Aurora

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    July 25, 2012 | 8:00 am

    My father, alav hahalom, died shortly before Passover in 2011. When we learn that a close relative has died, but the person has not yet been buried, we are called an onen, or “someone in between.” Mourning doesn’t officially start until our loved one is buried, so we are in... read on

  • Camp Newman Generates Jewish Joy

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    July 18, 2012 | 7:00 am

    I attended a secular summer camp as a child, and never expected to set foot in a Jewish summer camp. However, my rabbi invited me to Camp Newman last Shabbat for our synagogue’s annual visitor’s night, and it turned out to be an amazing experience.

    Within minutes of my arrival,... read on

  • A Synagogue Isn’t a Market

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    July 11, 2012 | 7:00 am

    Noam Neusner thinks he has come up with the ideal solution to synagogue dues in “The Marketplace for Synagogues” at The Jewish Daily Forward. He suggests that we buy tickets from a Jewish Federation, which we would then turn in when we attend synagogue services. The synagogues,... read on

  • Rabbis Under the Radar

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    July 9, 2012 | 2:47 pm

    Recently I received an email from a friend. “I received this bar mitzvah invitation,” she said, “and I can’t place the names. You know everyone. Help me out here.” The first thing that struck me was the phrase, “You know everyone.”

    This phrase has a deep resonance for... 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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