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Rabbi

Rabbi Sherre Hirsch is a mother of four, author, speaker, TV personality, teacher and the spiritual life consultant for Canyon Ranch.  After eight years at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, she stepped out from behind the formal podium to share her message in all kinds of pulpits from The Today Show to a small baptist church in Alabama.  She published her first book, We Plan, God Laughs: What to Do When Life Hits You Over the Head in 2008; her second book will be published in early 2013. Rabbi Hirsch spends her free time practicing yoga, baking brownies and playing freeze dance with her husband and children.

This past week I brought along my two girls, Eden, 10 and Alia London, 8 to New York City. I had been there dozens of times for business; but this time was for them. So for six days, we did New York: Serendipity, Mathilda on Broadway, Empire State Building, Sony Wonder Museum, and a even a carriage ride in Central Park. The trip was supposed to expand their horizons and I am sure it did. But what I did not know was how it would expand my own.
Dear Susan Sher, Thank you. Last night at the Oscars your son, Graham Moore gave inspiration and hope not only to every adolescent that feels “weird and different” but to all the parents working desperately everyday to raise these children and to convey to them that “weird and different” is the stuff of greatness.
My New Year's Parenting Resolution in less than 100 words. I want to STOP SAYING, “GIVE ME A SECOND” every time one of my children asks for my attention. My response has become so ubiquitous that now when I ask my five year old to brush his teeth, he says, “Give me a second.”  This year when one of them asks for my attention, before I react with my habitual quip, I want (at least some of the time, or at the very least once) to stop right then and give them what they need - my presence and my love.
Spoiler alert: Morgan Freeman does not play God in Exodus: Gods and Kings.  And this is only one of the many courageous risks that director Ridley Scott took in bringing the story of Moses to life in the just released movie. Instead of trying to depict the literal text of the Bible as we saw in the 10 Commandments with Charlton Heston, Ridley Scott does midrash - Hollywood style.
I have screwed up royally with Halloween in our home. As a rabbi I am very clear that Halloween is a pagan holiday that was adopted by the Christians. As Jews we are not supposed to celebrate non-Jewish holidays.  Yet I am embarrassed to say that all four of my children have loved to dress up, trick or treat and organize their candy at the end of the night.
The other day driving my daughter home from school, I see a new anonymous face holding a sign on the street asking for money. After wondering for a moment about what happened to the previous man, I began to judge him. Is he really deserving of my $1.00?
We all know that famous conversation starter:  Who would you invite to dinner dead or alive? And of course we all know how it is answered. The religious invite Jesus, the Dalai Lama and the Pope. The star struck invite George Clooney and the Jolie-Pitts. The philosophical invite Socrates and Plato; and the sentimental invite their deceased grandparents. We all want ten minutes with one of them to impart their great wisdom in the hopes that they will answer the unanswerable questions. We want them to make sense of all the complexities of our lives.
All week leading up to Yom Kippur I hear people asking one another, “Are you fasting?” This one ritual of abstaining from food and water for 25 hours has become the central focus of the most sacred day of the Jewish calendar. Historically this was not the case, the purpose of Yom Kippur was “to afflict our souls”.  And one of the ways the rabbis understood how to do that was by abstaining from food and water. But the list did not end there.
This year, tax day is coming on September 24. Most people think that Rosh Hashanah celebrates the Jewish New Year. Except, Rosh Hashanah is one of four new years in the Jewish Calendar. * So clearly it is not like New Years Eve American style. It is actually more similar to April 15 when we account for what we have and what we don’t and we deal with the reality.
When my son was eight, he was pummeled by a group of thirteen year olds. We were at family camp where there is a lot of time for kids of all ages to hang out together. Unbeknownst to my husband and I, our son thought he was “entertaining” the older boys. In reality they were mocking and teasing him.  Eventually they got tired and asked him to leave. Our boy already struggling with social cues did not get the message and after a few more promptings, he was flat on the floor with fist in his eye.

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