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Articles written by Glen Pickus

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Choosing to fast on Yom Kippur l Worship

"Is this not the fast I have chosen?” (Isaiah 58:6). Jews hear these words every year at services on Yom Kippur which starts at sunset on Tuesday, Oct. 8. Jews fast on Yom Kippur because the Torah tells us, “On the tenth day of the same seventh...

 

Larger than the lunar landing

Fifty years ago this month, humankind set foot on the moon for the first time. It was one of the few times when calling an event historic was an understatement. Yet the Apollo 11 flight wasn’t the most important event in my life back in July 1969.... Full story

 

Fighting hate l Worship

The world learned an important lesson from the rise of Nazism in the 1930s – that hate must be resisted with vigor and vigilance because appeasing hate is doomed to fail. One widespread form of hate today, in the United States and worldwide, is...

 

Continuing the vision l Worship

Temple Beth Or’s creation story starts in a hot tub in Victoria, British Columbia, in the early 1980s when two of our founders attended a medical conference. The two young physicians, just starting their own families, agreed there was a need for a...

 

Torah teachings about climate change l Worship

The Torah’s continued relevancy in the modern world amazes me. While I’m not claiming the Torah’s compilation of wisdom from 3,000 years ago anticipates global warming, I am saying it does offer ethical rules and values applicable to solving...

 

Judaism is a process l Worship

As the sun sets on Yom Kippur (Sept. 19 this year), the process of seeking atonement for the past year’s transgressions ends for Jews around the world. The beginning of that process formally started on Rosh Hashanah, 10 days earlier at sunset last...

 

Earning a Good Name

Like many religions, Judaism attempts to explain the unexplainable. What really resonates with me is how Jewish ethics and teachings can make the seemingly incomprehensible not only knowable but simply so. Most, if not all, religions attempt to...

 

Timing can be everything l Worship

It doesn’t hurt to be a little lucky. Temple Beth Or’s search for our next rabbi took a lot of energy and coordination and was carefully planned. As we executed our plans we hoped we would be... Full story

 

Who is Temple Beth Or? l Worship

Searching for a rabbi is not your typical business world job recruitment effort. As mentioned in a previous column, after nine rewarding years at Temple Beth Or (TBO), Rabbi Jessica Marshall left TBO last July to pursue other rabbinic interests in...

 

What if? l Worship

Tonight we celebrate the second of eight nights of Hanukkah. Each night of Hanukkah I proudly place my lit menorah in my front window sill so passersby can see that a proud Jew celebrating Hanukkah lives in my house. Because I live in a welcoming...

 

Saying sorry: 3 steps to seeking forgiveness on Rosh Hashanah | Worship

“I’m sorry” are two words that are sometimes impossible to say out loud. With the start of Rosh Hashanah tonight – Wednesday, Sept. 20 – Jews in Mukilteo and around the world will start a 10-day period of saying “I’m sorry” to...

 

What is a rabbi, and who can be one? | Worship

My mother’s maiden name is Robinson. The name was created by an immigration official when my grandfather came to America in the early 1900s from what was then called Palestine. I say created because there’s no doubt that is not how my...

 

Interpret Torah not literally but as living text | Worship

The Torah, also known as the Old Testament and the Five Books of Moses, is a very personal text shared by millions. On the holiday of Shavuot – starting at sunset on May 30 – Jews will mark the receiving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. The Torah... Full story

 

Come, celebrate the New Year of the Trees with a seder | Worship

Each year we celebrate New Year’s Day to commemorate the advancement of the calendar year. Logically, that means one New Year’s Day celebration per year. Then why does the Hebrew calendar have four New Year’s celebrations? New Year #1 is on 1 N...

 

What Jews do on Christmas

Let’s play Jeopardy. Alex Trebek: “Holidays for $100. Watch a new release movie and then go out to eat at a Chinese restaurant.” Contestant’s correct response: “What do Jews do on Christmas...

 
 By Glen Pickus    General    October 5, 2016

A special message on a special Shabbat | Worship

If you want to understand what being Jewish entails, start with observing Shabbat (the Sabbath). That’s what rabbis frequently tell people considering conversion. Despite its simplicity, Shabbat is...

 
 By Glen Pickus    General    July 6, 2016

Treat others as you wish to be treated | Worship

There are no exceptions to the Golden Rule. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” These five words leave no room for interpretation. The Golden Rule provides the ethical basis for all three Abrahamic...

 
 By Glen Pickus    General    April 20, 2016

An optimist’s (silly) thought | Worship

I am a senseless optimist. Right up until the moment things go wrong, I am predicting a positive outcome. You’d think, as I near my 60th birthday, life experiences would have completely eroded this attitude away. It hasn’t. Knowing this, I should...

 

Jewish immigrants among our city’s builders | Worship

Temple Beth Or celebrates 30 years as a congregation this year, yet this milestone pales in comparison to the number of years the Jewish community has existed in the Puget Sound region. The first Jewish immigrants began arriving in the Pacific Northw... Full story

 

A 16th morning blessing for county's sole synagogue | Worship

Some Jews start each day by reciting 15 blessings thanking God for fulfilling their basic needs, which includes everything from waking up to the ability to put on clothes. One of those gives thanks to God for creating us Jewish. While I’m not the...

 

Listen for the holy sound: The awe of the shofar | Worship

One of the more awesome moments during the “Days of Awe,” the Jewish High Holy Days, is the sounding of the shofar. We don’t just hear the sound of the shofar; we hear its blast. On its face a...

 

Judaism doesn’t go on a summer vacation | Worship

I wouldn’t blame you if you looked at the calendar of Jewish holidays and concluded Judaism goes on vacation every summer. Between Shavuot, which typically occurs in late May or early June and Rosh HaShanah, which occurs in September, the only...

 

'Never forget': Remembering the Holocaust | Worship

“Never forget” is the primary lesson taught when learning about the 6 million who died at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust. There are many things about the Holocaust that we need to remember. I choose to remember what can only be...

 

Purim: Not your typical Jewish holiday | Worship

Purim is one of the more unusual holidays on the Jewish calendar. It is based on the story in the Book of Esther in which Esther, a Jew who has been made Queen of Persia, and her cousin Mordechai foil the plot of Haman, the King of Persia’s evil...

 

Festival of Light promotes conservation | Worship

A dire situation faced Jewish people in the Land of Israel in the year 167 B.C.E. They faced extinction because their Syrian Greek occupiers tried to impose a foreign Hellenistic culture on them by banning all Jewish practices and defiling their...

 

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