Halftime Leisure

HONM: Weekend Reflections from a Rabbi

January 20, 2015

“When I am needed, I am needed. I pray that we learn to become more selfless in a place of selfies.”

Rene, her husband Shane, and their three children came to DC from New Jersey to celebrate a Bar Mitzvah over the holiday weekend. The family ended up at the Mall because the children are history buffs, and wanted to see as many Smithsonian museums as they could before traveling home. Although they enjoyed the trip, the trio was supremely disappointed that Kermit the Frog was not on display at the National Museum of American History.

Rene is a Rabbi. She’s not currently with a pulpit, but is still active in the Jewish community; right now, she is working on two books. One is a fictional account of a female Rabbi, and the other is a holocaust Hagaddah. Rene is not only an author, but is also a teacher, sharing the Judaic tradition with children and adults alike. In her position, she also officiates around 20 weddings every year. Returning to the pulpit full-time would satisfy Rene’s true passion for her spirituality, but she has her children to take care of first and foremost.

When I asked their ages, Bailey—Rene’s 11-year-old daughter, donning a lifeguard sweatshirt— confidently asserted that she was the oldest. Twins Jackson and Sophie, age 9, immediately spoke over their sister: “We’re twins,” they declared. Then they playfully argued back and forth, debating who was the “cuter version” of the other.

When I talked with Rene about her weekend in DC, she gave me reason for pause: “I could not help but thinking of the situation of the world, and the fact that every different nation was represented at the mall. I wanted to attach everyone in a long chain to remind us all why it’s important to stand together—not only on MLK day, but every day.”

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