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Jewish Journal

Know Before Whom You Stand

By Susan Esther Barnes

December 26, 2012 | 7:00 am

There was no bar or bat mitzvah ceremony at my synagogue this weekend, so the chairs in the front row, normally occupied by the bar/bat mitzvah families, were empty. At the rabbi’s... read on

  • Shining Lights in the Darkness

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    December 19, 2012 | 7:00 am

    On Friday night last week, the seventh night of Chanukah, dozens of families arrived at our synagogue, each with a chanukiah (Chanukah menorah or candelabra) and a box of candles. The chanukiot were set up on long tables in the middle of the overflowing sanctuary, where the light... read on

  • Jewish Hash Browns

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    December 12, 2012 | 7:00 am

    It happens every year. Chanukah rolls around, and at some point the rabbi asks me about my latke consumption. Every year, I tell him I haven’t had any. Every year, he is horrified.

    He’s a bit of a foodie, and for him, latkes are an integral part of the holiday experience. It’s... read on

  • Mindful Eating

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    December 5, 2012 | 7:00 am

    As part of services last Saturday, we had what was billed as a creative eating meditation. “In our all too-busy world,” the congregation weekly email explained, “the practice of mindful eating helps us bring our full attention to the process of eating – to all the tastes, smells,... read on

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  • Religious or Cultural?

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    November 28, 2012 | 7:00 am

    I was at the Safeway checkout counter this week, about to respond with my usual, “Yes, thanks” when asked whether I had found everything I need, when instead I blurted, “Oh, wait! Stamps!”

    The cashier kindly charged me for stamps, reached into her drawer, and handed over a book.... read on

  • Dear Diestel

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    November 26, 2012 | 7:00 am

    Dear Diestel Family Turkey Ranch, I was willing to look past the name, reminiscent of diesel fuel, because of your claims of sustainability and range grown birds. I didn’t know the down-on-the-farm experience would include having to pluck parts of my turkey, which clearly had not... read on

  • Is There Something Wrong with a Joyful Funeral?

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    November 21, 2012 | 7:00 am

    On Friday I attended a funeral at an African-American inner city church. Normally, I would expect to put the word “predominately” in there, but frankly, the only people in the overflowing sanctuary who didn’t look African-American were people I recognized from work.

    I was... read on

  • Stereotypes and Myths

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    November 14, 2012 | 7:00 am

    I was recently watching an episode of “Breaking Amish,” an unscripted show about four young Amish and one Mennonite person who go to New York to decide whether to give up the ways of their families and to become “English,” or, in the language most of us would use, to adopt the... read on

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