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Jewish Journal

Praying with Betty

By Susan Esther Barnes

October 30, 2013 | 1:00 am

Photo of Betty's cool-looking front door by Susan Esther Barnes

For the last few months, on most Saturday afternoons I have been visiting a woman I will call Betty, in order to preserve her privacy. Betty is in hospice, which means she is approaching... read on

  • Kevah – A Different Approach to Jewish Learning

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    October 23, 2013 | 1:00 am

    On Monday night I attended the first in a series of classes by Kevah, an interesting educational institution based in Berkeley, CA. Most Jewish education courses are top-down, with the institution deciding the topic of the course and where it will be. They then go in search of... read on

  • How Converting to Orthodox Judaism is Like Being Transgender

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    October 16, 2013 | 1:00 am

    I’ll start by saying I’m not converting to Orthodox Judaism, and I’m not transgender. So this whole blog post is written from an outsider’s perspective, and as a result, it may contain inaccuracies. I apologize to anyone who feels I have given an inaccurate picture of either the... read on

  • I’m Not Telling You

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    October 9, 2013 | 1:00 am

    Pretty much every day, usually more than once a day, I ask myself, “What am I going to write about in my next blog post?” Sometimes, people ask me what I’m planning to write over the next few weeks, as if such a plan has ever existed in my life as a blogger. Sometimes, I’m worried... read on

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  • We Had a Guide Named Moses

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    October 2, 2013 | 1:30 am

    For Sukkot for the last several years, I have helped to build the two sukkot (temporary huts) at the synagogue, and on occasion I shook the lulav, and I usually ate at least once each year in a sukkah. But that was about it. I never slept in one.

    Sukkot is supposed to remind us... read on

  • Slowing Down for the Holidays

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    September 18, 2013 | 1:00 am

    Yom Kippur last year was a mad rush. I went to services in the morning, dashed off to a retirement home to do a service for them, rushed over to the civic center to listen to a Q&A with Rabbi Doug Kahn of the JCRC followed by afternoon and concluding services, then to a restaurant... read on

  • Juan Rodriguez Delivers a Powerful Rosh Hashanah Sermon

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    September 11, 2013 | 1:00 am

    On Wednesday night last week, Congregation Rodef Sholom in San Rafael heard a powerful sermon by Juan Rodrigez. No, Mr. Rodriguez is not a rabbi. I have reason to believe he is not even Jewish. So what, you may ask, was he doing giving a sermon on Erev Rosh Hashanah, the start of... read on

  • How to Ask for Forgiveness

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    September 4, 2013 | 1:00 am

    One of the things I like most about the High Holy Days is it is a time to seek and to grant forgiveness. We are told that, during this time, God grants forgiveness for sins against God, but that for sins of one person against another, God does not grant forgiveness until we have... read on

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