Author Archives: Cantor Thomas

How Fortunate Are We! by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Apr 28

    Ashreinu! Mah tov chelkeinu u’mah na’im goraleinu u’mah yafah yerushateinu. How fortunate are we! How good is our portion, how pleasant our lot, and how beautiful our heritage. These words, found in the traditional morning service and in our Gates of Repentance for High Holy Days, have been running through my head for […]

I Love Passover by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Mar 30

I love Passover. I love Passover more than any other holiday, Jewish or otherwise. I remember as a kid – a super-Jewish-loving kid – how excited I would be when the Passover foods would start turning up in the house. My grandparents’ pantry was on some shelves leading up toward our attic; I remember creeping […]

Purim, Pesach, and Packing by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Mar 16

I’ve been thinking about my Year-In-Israel as a cantorial student more often lately, prompted entirely by the visits of our three incredible candidates for the assistant rabbi position. The first year at HUC – JIR, the Reform Movement’s seminary on four campuses, is a singular year among the five when one studies in order to […]

On watching paint dry. Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Feb 03

Several weeks ago, I sat on the couch with my family. From husband to toddler, all three were engrossed in the Panthers latest pummeling of another team. I was looking at the ceiling, my mind far away. Matt turned to me and said, “This is like watching paint dry for you, isn’t it?” I realized […]

Interfaith Work Matters by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Nov 25

When I was about 16, I had the opportunity to spend a few days doing peer leadership training through the National Conference of Christians and Jews. I went to camp – Anytown USA – along with a number of kids from my high school, including some very close friends. We spent several days at Anytown […]

Come to Israel by Cantor Mary R. Thomas

Oct 26

I remember being a young school child and it was thrilling whenever there would be a “multicultural” fair or “diversity day”, because this meant there would be an Israeli booth. I remember excitedly raising my hand in school so I could sign up to write a paper about my people’s home – Israel. It was […]

Community Memorial Service Words by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Sep 20

September 20th, 2015 – 5776 Let me begin with a poem by Rabbi Donald Rossoff – If every life were like a drop of rain – each of us a small, solitary self – then death would be for us return, back to the ocean whence we came… Some raindrops soft and gentle as the […]

The Family that Prays Together… by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Sep 17

Rabbi Judy made a powerful argument in her Rosh Hashanah morning sermon about how important memory is to the Jewish people. It’s how we build our identity. It’s how we know who we are. It’s how we know how to act in the world. As a parent, I think about this idea often. I think […]

Opening to Opportunity by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Aug 13

I realize that I’m seven years late to the party, but I’m FINALLY reading Malcolm Gladwell’s national bestseller, Outliers: The Story of Success, per a recommendation in the somewhat distant past from Rabbi Jonathan. I’m not done with the book yet, so forgive my first impressions. In Outliers, Gladwell aims to debunk commonly-held myths about […]