Author Archives: Cantor Thomas

A Retrospective as We Move Forward by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

May 25

  Some of you know this story, but I think it bears repeating at this time. Like the Reader’s Digest volumes on my grandparents’ shelf, I’m going to tell you the abridged version. I grew up in a small, Classical Reform congregation in Bayonne, NJ. Bayonne had a thriving Jewish community when my grandparents and […]

Mother’s Day by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

May 11

  Mother’s Day is this Sunday and my social media is filled with friends sharing their Mother’s Day memories from years gone by. The memories shared are funny, frustrating, warm, or pained; they capture longing, they capture solitude and sadness, they capture profound joy. The New York Times Well section has had several articles and […]

More Than Enough by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Mar 20

Parashat Vayakhel, Shabbat March 24-25, 2017 In this week’s Torah portion, men and women of special skill are called upon to craft objects for the Tabernacle. Those who weave or work with metals, among other skills, are entreated to use their talents to make magnificent the place in which God will dwell, the place where […]

We Were Strangers by Cantor Mary R. Thomas

Feb 02

“The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love the stranger as yourself for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Leviticus 19:34) We were strangers. We were on the outside. We were feared. We were maligned. We were not trusted. We were turned away. […]

Double Chai by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Jan 25

I have a birthday at the beginning of this month. I hadn’t given it too much thought before because it isn’t a milestone and, at a point, birthdays that aren’t milestones seem to become days like the rest. I’ve already had enough non-milestone birthdays as an adult to know that this is true. Milestones are […]

Contentment by Cantor Mary R. Thomas

Dec 21

Who is the rich one? He who is happy with his lot, as it says, “When you eat [from] the work of your hands, you will be happy, and it will be well with you” (Psalms 128:2). “You will be happy” in this world, and “it will be well with you” in the world to […]

Don’t Forget Who You Once Were by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Nov 03

  I had a vacation day earlier this week, and I spent it entirely sitting in public spaces (Barnes and Nobles, Amelie’s) reading a book that simply had nothing to do with Judaism, or my job, or the Jewish people, or community building, or prayer, or Torah. It was just a book and a book […]

Seeing Palaces by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Sep 15

Achat sha’alti mei’eit Adonai, otah avakeish – One thing I ask of Adonai, one request – Shivti b’veit Adonai kol y’mei chayai, lachazot b’noam Adonai ul’vakeir b’heichalo That I may dwell Adonai’s house all of the days of my life, to behold the pleasantness of Adonai and visit God’s palace. Psalm 27 is dedicated to […]

Fuel for Elul – Preparing for the High Holy Days by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Aug 30

September 2016 Elul is back to school shopping. Elul is the letter you get from the dentist reminding you to schedule your next cleaning and x-rays. Elul is that chapter in the healthy eating book that gives you the grocery list and tells you to clean out your cabinets. Elul is a warning shot across […]