Reform Really

Sprightly, inspiring musings from Rabbi Marci Bellows of Temple B'nai Torah on Long Island.

When A Rabbi Gets Sick

03/18/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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In November, I got so sick that I almost didn’t notice that Chanukah was approaching. The only Festival of Lights it looked like I would experience would be the lights on my I.V. machine as it dispensed various antibiotics and fluids.

Rabbi Marci Bellows

Why -- And How -- I Officiate

A Reform rabbi explains her decision to begin uniting interfaith couples under the chuppah.

02/10/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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There has been a great deal of press lately about interfaith marriages within the Jewish community, including an article by Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism in which he proclaimed that young people “must hear from their Jewish leaders that interfaith couples can be and are supported in their effort to raise deeply committed Jewish families.”

Cheryl Silvers and Eric Doades sign the ketubah at their interfaith wedding. Courtesy of Cheryl Silvers and Eric Doades

Go (Boldly) To Shul, Urges A Trekkie

01/23/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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There are many truths that link us as human beings – qualities that we share no matter who or where we are. We all need to eat and sleep, learn and grow, and we all need to feel that we belong somewhere.

Rabbi Marci Bellows

A Reform Jew’s Gregorian Heshbon HaNefesh

01/09/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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I’ve never been one to make “resolutions” on the secular New Year. It was never as meaningful to me as the cheshbon hanefesh, the spiritual accounting of my soul, that I did each year at the High Holy Days. Nonetheless, it is impossible not to ponder what might help make 2014 an even better year than 2013. Rather than focusing on dieting, balancing my checkbook or organizing my closet (though I could certainly benefit from any or all of those things), I would prefer to focus on what could make the life of a Reform Jew more meaningful this coming year. So, I present my own list of A Reform Jew’s New Year’s Resolutions.

Rabbi Marci Bellows

After Superman Sam's Death, What Do We Do?

01/07/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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Hearts broke all over the world in December when we learned of the passing of one little, precious, 8-year-old boy. Just as Jewish tradition teaches us that, if we save one life, it is as if we’ve saved an entire world, we are also aware that losing one life forces us to lose the entire world that would have come from that special soul.

Sammy is second from the left. Photo courtesy Rabbi Phyllis Sommers

How Technology Enriches Jewish Lives

11/01/2013
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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I must admit, I am fairly addicted to technology and gadgets. I grew up loving video games (Pong and Atari 2600 started it all for me) and still have four different console systems at home. I tend to be an early adopter of new devices, and can seldom be found without my iPhone or iPad close by. Yet, even when I admit this to myself, there is still a little judgmental voice inside that believes that smart phones, tablets, computers and games disrupt society and distance us, especially in a Jewish context. Luckily, a number of recent experiences have proven that technology actually helps to connect us and to improve our Jewish lives.

Rabbi Marci Bellows

The Lessons Of Lot's Wife

10/10/2013
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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After the drama of the High Holy Days, we have returned to the beginning of the Torah. Early on, in chapter 19, we meet a character who has much to teach us, although she is with us only a short time: Lot’s wife. She is almost anonymous; her reactions to being told to leave her home in Sodom are not shared. We know only that she turns around to look behind her at the city they are escaping, and turns into a pillar of salt for all eternity.

Rabbi Marci Bellows

'Days Are Scrolls'

As the year ends and begins again, consider writing an ethical will.

09/25/2013
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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“Days are scrolls – write on them what you want to be remembered.”

Rabbi Marci Bellows

Brokenness Is A Part Of Life

09/13/2013
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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On the High Holy Days, we are encouraged to look back. We ponder the year that has passed, what has transpired, and how we might change it in the future. But what if we are stuck? What if we can’t get past a specific event? How many of us have experienced a terrible ordeal?

Rabbi Marci Bellows

How To Pray A Hundred Blessings A Day

Judaism has mechanisms in place to help us cultivate a sense of gratitude.

07/09/2013
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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Life is busy, right? It’s crazy. And frustrating. There is just so much that happens each day that annoys us. Our co-workers, or our in-laws, or our kids… our bills, our obligations, our struggles… all of these factors can add up to a very troublesome existence. It is so easy to let days go by before we take a deep breath, pause, and actually take time to be grateful. To say a blessing. To be satisfied with what we have right now, rather than what we want.

Rabbi Marci Bellows
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