Author Archives: Cantor Mary Thomas

Breathe! It’s Almost Thanksgiving

Nov 01

Elohai neshama shenatata bi tehora hi – Oh God, the soul-breath you have given me is pure.  Atah b’rata, Atah y’tzarta, Atah nefachta bi – You created it, You shaped it, You implanted it within me. Each morning, we give thanks to God for the life-giving breath within our bodies. With these words from the […]

Shabbat Across Charlotte

Aug 01

Shabbat is a cathedral in time, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel famously wrote. It is a palace of moments set aside for reflection, study, introspection, family, friends, and seeking God. I have always been struck by this mental image of a “cathedral in time.” What does that mean?   Imagine yourself standing in a cathedral. What does […]

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Feb 01

I think my favorite part of the Purim carnival at the Bayonne JCC when I was growing up was the “shave the balloon” booth. The shaving cream was always so foamy, you got just a little bit messy, and someone always did end up popping the balloon. As a parent, watching my own kids and […]

Strive for 100

Nov 01

Quite a few years ago, I remember a fruit and vegetable marketing campaign that had the local grocery stores covered in signs that said “Strive for Five,” Hanging from the ceiling: “Strive for Five”, on the refrigerator where they keep the lettuce: “Strive for Five,” over by the bulk bins: “Strive for Five.” As you […]

Purim and the reframing of “How are you?”

Feb 25

Last week at a conference out of town, surrounded for two days by old friends and colleagues, I was plagued by three small words: “How are you?” Over and over again the question came. And over and over again, I dodged it. But halfway through the conference, I misread the intent behind the question and […]

Singing for Joy, Singing to Celebrate

Feb 01

Like many in the early 90s, I learned the section of Torah that I read at my Bat Mitzvah from a tape that my childhood rabbi recorded for me. I remember carefully rewinding the tape with a pencil when the ribbon got a little out of whack and hoping that it would still work. How […]

High Holy Day Choir

Jul 08

It’s time to register for our High Holy Day (HHD) choirs! I hope that you will lend your spirit and your voice to make our High Holy Day services beautiful and meaningful for all. Adult Choir is for any adult or experienced 11th/12th graders who are willing to make a weekly rehearsal commitment beginning in […]

Paper Clips

Jun 25

Last Friday, the rabbis and I had the privilege of welcoming six beautiful souls to the Jewish people as they reached the conclusion of their conversion process. Each completed their own journey, some over the course of decades, to affirm their Jewish identity. There are another six or so who will also convert in mid-July. […]

Home by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Mar 28

Home. Take a moment and imagine home. Not the home you live in right now or even the home you might dream of for the future, but – home – your childhood home. Where would you sit again, if you could choose one spot? What color are the walls? What does it smell like? What […]