Author Archives: Cantor Thomas

1998 was 20 Years Ago by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

May 29

I had quite a few conversations last week about time. There was a conversation with my mom about whether or not she or I qualified as “old,” a conversation with a congregant about whether or not 5 years is a lot of time, and two conversations very similar in character, in which we discovered that […]

Elements of Judaism: Walking Jewishly Through Life by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas (From Charlotte Jewish News Editorial, March 2018)

Mar 01

Being a Jewish clergy person is a pretty fantastic job. On almost any given day, I will encounter lots of different people, each experiencing a variety of different things, some of them incredibly happy and others tragically sad, some of them unique and exciting and others still, rather mundane. While it is difficult sometimes to […]

Bashert – Being Right Where You Belong by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Feb 27

Sometimes one finds themselves in exactly the right place at the right time. Jewish custom might designate circumstances like these as bashert – meant to be. Some of us see such blessings as mere coincidence and others ascribe deeper meaning to moments that simply feel bashert, as an affirmation of the mystery of creation. I […]

Purim at Temple Beth El by Cantor Mary R. Thomas

Jan 11

The Book of Esther – Megillat Esteir – was likely one of the last to enter the cannon of the Hebrew Bible, as late as the late Second Temple period. The text is a rich satire of Persian culture and a dark confrontation of the insecurity of Jews in that historical moment. For Jews in […]

From My Seat at URJ’s Biennial Convention by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Dec 07

For five days every two years, thousands of Jewish professionals serving reform congregations and organizations, lay leaders, and congregants come together to learn, to pray, and to connect. We come together to learn about best practices and principles. We come together to hear how other synagogues struggle and succeed, that we may bear witness to […]

Words of Gratitude by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Oct 30

“I offer thanks to You, ever-living Sovereign, that You have restored my soul to me in mercy: How great is Your trust.” This translation of the Modeh Ani prayer begins each of the morning services in Mishkan T’filah, the Reform Movement’s 2007 prayer book. The very first words on our lips each day are meant […]

Turn It and Turn It Again by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Oct 11

Chag Samei’ach and welcome to the last official day of the holiday season of 5778! We have made it up the mountain of Jewish time that transitions us each year from one to the next. We started this summer with Tisha B’av, the day of collective Jewish mourning. Then we went through the introspective month […]

Stripes, Not Squares by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Aug 28

When I was a child, I often thought about infinity. I remember spending time imagining the vastness of the universe, of time and space, and my place within it as both infinitesimal, while still being at the center of my very own story. It was not until I grew older that my sense of life […]

Prayer is a Time Machine by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Aug 08

Cantor Jamie Marx is a classmate of Cantor Thomas. In advance of the upcoming release of his Jewish rock album, In Pursuit, Cantor Marx has organized a blog series that explores the intersection of rock music and prayer. He asked Cantor Thomas to write about prayer and Counting Crows, one of her favorite bands. Here […]