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Jewish Journal

Speaking to the Dead

By Susan Esther Barnes

November 13, 2013 | 12:00 am

Photo by Susan Esther Barnes

Jewish tradition isn’t clear about what happens to a person after he/she dies, but it is clear we are supposed to look out for the feelings of the dead person. Part of the ritual of... read on

  • Praying with Betty

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    October 30, 2013 | 1:00 am

    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 the end of her life, and is living at home in a hospital-type bed she will likely never leave,... 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

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  • 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

  • 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

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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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