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Chizuk Amuno Congregation


Posted on March 25, 2014

The Purple Passover Notebook

A small purple wire bound notebook sits on my shelf. It’s from Israel which I know, not just from the tiny Hebrew characters on the front cover, but because the wire binding is on the right side of the book. I use it as my Passover book. As with so many of our ritual items Continue Reading »

Posted on February 10, 2014

Leap Year Changes

Two weeks ago after services, a careful reader of the Siddur (prayerbook) noticed an anomaly and asked me a question about it, “Why do we add the phrase kapparat pesha (forgiveness of sins) to the musaf amidah of Rosh Hodesh only in Jewish leap years?” Well friend I am glad you asked, because while I’ve Continue Reading »

Posted on November 4, 2013

Hanukkah Guilt

Based on the title, you probably think that this blog post is going to be about the year I lived in Israel when I ate hot-from-the-streetcart sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) every day for the month leading up to Hanukkah. Or about the years when I refrained from getting eight gifts for my kids, one for each Continue Reading »

Posted on October 2, 2013

Two By Two – The Fall Holidays

Just to keep your mind sharp as Tishrei comes to an end, test your knowledge of the fall holidays. First Chizuk friend to get them all correct gets a Chizuk Amuno T shirt. How is an apple used on at least two of the fall holidays? (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Hoshanah Rabbah, Shemini Atzeret, Continue Reading »

Posted on September 9, 2013

Yom Kippur Reading

Thank you for sharing a wonderful Rosh Hashanah with us. We are so grateful for your singing, your participation, your kind words, and your engaged presence – all of which helped us have such a haimish and wonderful Rosh Hashanah in the Krieger auditorium service. As I mentioned from the pulpit on Thursday, I’d like Continue Reading »

Posted on August 29, 2013

High Holiday Services are …

… boring. So says Abigail Pogrebin. In her intriguing article on Tablet magazine ( she discusses how rabbis and congregants alike have made High Holiday services boring and she suggests what might be done to remedy them. Much of what she says resonates with me. It is a magnificent and challenging time of year. She Continue Reading »

Posted on July 15, 2013

How We Remember

I am writing from New York where I am vacationing and spending time with family. It’s as good a place as any to spend July 4th; and though the timing was accidental I set out to observe the day with some semblance of its original intent. While the founding fathers might have looked askance at Continue Reading »

Posted on June 27, 2013

Crowdsourcing Sermons

Several of you told me that I taught you a new word last Shabbat when I mentioned summer “slippage,” meaning the learning loss that happens during the months when our kids are not in school. Today I might be teaching you another new word by crowdsourcing for help in planning out a sermon schedule for Continue Reading »

Posted on March 22, 2013

Blessings for Passover

In the spirit of questioning which we encourage at this season, I’ve got a trivia question for you: This Sunday night we will recite a blessing, which is one of four blessings that are recited only once a year (outside the land of Israel.) Can you name that blessing and any of the other three? Continue Reading »

Posted on March 5, 2013

Let My People Go

Everybody’s favorite holiday is fast approaching. And lest you think I’m being facetious, ask any Jewish person over the age of 7 (Hanukkah usually wins out until then) and they will tell you how much they love Pesah. That’s true in our family as well. Two out of the three of us adore it; the Continue Reading »