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Two Seder Plates

04/12/2019 02:51:03 PM


Hannah Orden

Our 4th Annual Liberation Seder with Fountain Baptist Church was better than ever! An amazing opportunity to break down...Read more...

Weaving Community

03/08/2019 04:32:35 PM


Hannah Orden

I won’t say this week’s Torah portion is my favorite, but it does feature my favorite name for a Torah portion.  Va’yakhel is the verb form of the word kehillah, which means “community.”  I love that Hebrew has a verb for making community.


In an op-ed, David Brooks talks about social isolation as the core...Read more...

Blessing Magnificence Where You Find It

03/04/2019 12:11:29 PM


Hannah Orden


Jewish tradition has a blessing for almost everything from waking in the morning to seeing a rainbow. The idea is to maintain a constant awareness of gratitude and wonder. But there isn’t much snow in the Mideast, so I made up my own blessing when I woke this morning and...Read more...

01/18/2019 01:48:53 PM


Light and Joy

12/20/2018 03:47:56 PM


Hannah Orden

Hanukkah is over but it is still bringing us light and joy. These cards were made for my congregation by children at Christ Church in Summit. With recent anti-Semitic incidents, they wanted us to know they care. The relationships we build and human connections we create strengthen all of us.


Tohu va Vohu

09/23/2018 02:44:10 PM


Hannah Orden

On Yom Kippur I shared the delightful surprise that the Hebrew phrase tohu va vohu has entered the German language. The words are from the very beginning of the Torah when it says that the world was unformed and void. The phrase is used in Austria, Bavaria, and Switzerland to mean a "disorderly mess." There was even a TV show that ran for 8 years in Austria called Tohu Va Vohu! At Break-the-Fast after services, many people asked me what...Read more...

Cut From the Same Cloth (Kavanah for Amidah, Rosh Hashanah)

09/21/2018 08:24:06 PM


Hannah Orden

When my mother was dying, she asked me to write down parts of the story of her life. One of the things she told me was that when I was born, the youngest of her three children, she thought: "Finally, a child cut from the same cloth." My brother got a lot of mileage out of teasing me about it. I'm not sure my sister was quite so amused. And Bella, who is a teenager at the time, wanted to know if she was also “cut from the same...Read more...

All the Wrong People Have Self-Esteem (Yom Kippur Kavanah)

09/21/2018 08:13:45 PM


Hannah Orden

          There are some good things about growing older.  Granted, you develop all kinds of aches and pains, and your memory starts to go, and you don’t even realize your hearing is declining until your husband says something in an undertone and even though he’s standing right next to y+ou, you have to ask him to repeat it, but your daughter in the next room with the fan going hears...Read more...

Cross That Line (Yom Kippur Sermon)

09/21/2018 08:09:54 PM


Hannah Orden

B’reishit bara Elohim et hashamain v’et ha’aretz.  V’ha’aretz haitah tohu va’vohu.  These are the opening words of the Torah.  “In the beginning Heaven and Earth were created by God, and the earth was unformed and void.” 

The Hebrew phrase Tohu va’vohu has been translated in many ways – unformed and void, formless and empty, wild and waste are a few of...Read more...

Restructuring the Covenant (Erev Yom Kippur Sermon)

09/21/2018 08:02:28 PM


Hannah Orden

This year the Reconstructionist Movement changed its name to Reconstructing Judaism. Not everyone is happy about the change, but I like the new name. Rather than a descriptive adjective, the new name puts the emphasis on action. In my opinion, the entire history of Judaism is a long process of constantly reconstructing Judaism that begins with the Torah itself. In Deuteronomy, Moses retells the story of the Israelites' experience in the...Read more...

Mon, March 30 2020 5 Nisan 5780