Author Archives: Cantor Thomas

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 […]

Memories and Making a Difference BY Cantor Mary THOMAS

Jan 15

I’m writing today from a cozy spot in the heart of Manhattan. Several times a year, I make a one or two day pilgrimage to New York City to visit my voice teacher and have a tune up, so to speak. Congregants are often surprised to learn that I still take voice lessons and are […]

How to Chanukah and an awful lot of Music!

Dec 11

A friend of ours is getting ready to light Chanukah candles for the first time this year (two friends, actually, but only one is local). Since I’m in the business of guiding people through their Jewish journeys, it’s an extra privilege to help someone a friend to find the tools and learn the skills to […]

Happiness, On Being a GYPSY, and Managing Expectations

Aug 08

I discovered several months ago that I am a card-carrying GYPSY with flowering lawns and prancing unicorns. [More about GYPSYs – Generation Y Protagonists and Special Yuppies – and our “issues”.] Apparently, what’s wrong with my generation is that our expectations are out of line with our reality. In short, we were raised by our […]