Why I’ll Be Watching Dancing With The Stars This Passover

Cheryl, Jonah and Abigail join me in wishing you all a sweet Passover filled with family, friends and meaning!

As we prepare for the holiday, I wanted to share with you my latest article on The Wisdom Daily.

This is a busy time in our house. We’re preparing for the Jewish holiday of Passover that begins on Friday night. My wife, kids and I each have tasks that we need to complete as part of our holiday preparation. One of the things that I’ve been busy with is figuring out some interesting ways to add new meaning and relevance to the Haggadah, the ancient story of Passover we share at the festive holiday meal known as the seder.

With the hope of engaging the diverse group of family members and friends who join us at our seder, I always expand the telling of the Passover story beyond the well-known biblical accounts of the plagues, Pharaoh, the enslavement of the Israelites and the almighty power of God who redeemed them from Egypt. One of the ways I do this is by getting folks talking about a present day person who has done something to highlight one of the many lessons of Passover. This year, those sitting around my family’s seder table will be talking about Nyle DiMarco, a current contestant on Dancing With The Stars.

To read more, please click HERE.

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My wife and kids making matzah on Periscope

Passover is a week away!

I was happy to hear such great feedback about the Fill In The Blanks Haggadah I sent out last week. This week, my wife, Rabbi Cheryl Jacobs, and I want to share with you our short, simple Passover video series that we are calling Passover 101. We started the series Sunday evening. Each night, from our kitchen, we share a little tidbit or teaching about Passover online via Periscope, a livestreaming service based on Twitter. You don’t need Twitter to watch the videos. We usually stream live around 8:00PM from @spiritualish on Twitter, but we record and post the videos HERE so you can watch when you can. We’ve encouraged folks to ask questions and get involved in the discussion – and they have! We’ll be posting videos through next Thursday evening. We invite you to join us for this fun, online adventure that we hope gives you some new insight into the Haggadah, the Seder and the overall Passover experience. Tonight, at services, I will be sharing and streaming the next episode of Passover 101. I hope you will join us, either in person or online!

Fill In The Blanks Haggadah

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Passover is coming. The first seder is two weeks from tonight!

As many of you know, I am a strong believer in making the seder fun and engaging for all ages. The purpose of the seder is to bring the story of Passover to life and make it relevant for everyone sitting around your seder table. Inspired by Mad Libs, my wife Cheryl and I have put together a short “Fill In The Blanks Haggadah” that we hope will add some laughter and engage your family and friends this Passover.

You can download the ”Fill In The Blanks Haggadah” HERE.

We’ll share some more fun seder ideas next week! Stay tuned!

Ramat Shalom On Campus


Some of our college students at UCF

Early this morning I left for the University of Central Florida, where I will be having lunch with a group of Ramat Shalom college and graduate students. After lunch, I will be heading up to Gainesville to have dinner with more Ramat Shalom students at the University of Florida. I will also be leading Friday night services at UF Hillel.

I have really been looking forward to this trip. Many of our college and graduate students were once our bar/bat mitzvah students. Some of them attended our preschool and several were active in our youth programs as they grew up at Ramat Shalom. Along with many of you their parents, we at Ramat Shalom have worked really hard to teach our children about their Jewish faith and culture. We have done so not only because they were becoming bar/bat mitzvah, but also because we wanted to give them the tools needed to go and live their lives as Jews. Well, our college and graduate students are out there trying their best to figure out how to use these tools and make their own Jewish choices on campus. As their home synagogue, we can’t abandon them now!

For many of our college and graduate students, life on campus signifies the beginning of their own, independent Jewish lives. Yes, most of our college and graduate students are lucky to be on campuses that have a Hillel and other Jewish organizations to offer them guidance and support as they navigate their independent Jewish lives. But, this does not mean that Ramat Shalom no longer needs to be there for our “kids.” Our college and graduate students remain part of our community and we must do our best to keep them connected to their synagogue family. This is why I am headed up to UCF and UF today.

Today’s trip is the beginning of a new initiative designed to keep our college and graduate students connected to Jewish life on the corner of Broward Boulevard and Old Hiatus Road. Through more visits to campuses, increased communication between Ramat Shalom and the Hillels on the campuses our kids attend, and new ways that we will be communicating with our college and graduate students, I plan to extend the incredible sense of community here at Ramat Shalom to their campuses. I want to ensure that all of our college and graduate students know that they remain extremely important to each of us who call Ramat Shalom our spiritual home.

If any of you would like to take part in this new initiative, I welcome your participation! Also, if you have a college and/or graduate student, please make sure Diane has their contact information (diane@ramatshalom.org).