Jewish Journal

  • Turning Toward the High Holy Days

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    September 12, 2012 | 8:00 am

    Some say there are no seasons in California. But for those of us who live by the Jewish calendar, the holidays keep us grounded in the turning of the planet.

    It always starts somewhere near the end of summer. Somehow, the approach of the High Holy Days gets mentioned. Sometimes... read on

  • Shomrim Plan to Withhold Evidence

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    September 6, 2012 | 10:47 am

    I was catching up on reading The Forward, when I came across an article called “Shomrim Don’t Want Police to See Security Video.”

    If the shomrim (the private, volunteer security force) put up private security cameras on their own dime, I could imagine legitimate reasons why they... read on

  • What Do You Want to Know About Synagogues?

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    August 29, 2012 | 8:00 am

    I recently received the Fall edition of Reform Judaism magazine, and quickly came across the article, “What Do You Know…about Synagogues?” on page 10. The Editor’s note at the start of the article says, “This is the first article in a series designed to increase your Jewish... read on

  • Thirsting for Shabbat

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    August 22, 2012 | 8:00 am

    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 even gone in on a number of Sundays.

    Included in this work has been the fruition of a huge new... 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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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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