Author Archives: Cantor Thomas

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 […]

One Size Never Fits All by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Jul 09

This morning, a voice on my radio said, “Just remember, one-size-fits-all really means one-size-fits-none.” This is the truth. If one-size-fits-all is supposed to mean, “one-size-will-sufficienty-cover-you-while-making-you-look-absolutely-atrocious,” then maybe, or “one-size-fits-AWKWARD!” (I’m reminded of my friend and TBE’s former Director of Youth Engagement Andy Harkavy rocking out a one-size-fits-all Clifford costume… If you were there, you remember […]

Blue Zones by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Jun 29

I recently came across this 2012 New York Times Magazine article about places called Blue Zones, were people have remarkable longevity and relatively little disease. Blue Zone residents, who live incredibly full and independent lives well into their 90s and beyond, have room for casual social interactions each and every day. They take naps. They […]

Strange Fire by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Apr 16

In this and last week’s Torah portion, (yes! The same Torah portion two weeks in a row! Read more about that here) we have the difficult section where Nadav and Avihu, Aaron’s sons, are put to death for bringing an aish zarah – a foreign or strange fire – into their worship of God. There […]

When Bread is Affliction by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Apr 01

Halachma anya di achalu avhatana b’ar’ah d’mitzrayim. Kol dichfin yeitei v’yeichalu. “This is the bread of affliction, the poor bread, which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat.” There are few moments in the Jewish year so focused on food as Passover. Food in Judaism is […]