All rights reserved © 2017​ Susan Shamash  l  Vancouver, BC

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October 26, 2019

A couple of years ago, for the High HolyDays, Or Shalom Synagogue’s Rabbi Hannah Dresner decided that her overall theme would be humility.  So she distributed these little wooden coins which she enjoined us to keep in our virtual pockets.  I still have mine.  

The story is that Rabbi Simcha Bunim of P’shiskha taught that everyone should have two pockets, each containing a slip of paper....

October 2, 2019

In her “Crash Talk”, Rabbi Benay Lappe, the groundbreaking talmud teacher Or Shalom brought to study with us a year and a half ago, teaches that the Judaism of 100 years from now will be unrecognizable to us.  Judaism is a living tradition that continually evolves and changes in response to time and place.  We are co-creators in that process.


I can’t identify the exact moment I decided to dev...

November 24, 2018

Bereishit/Genesis 35:16-21:  "They set out from Bethel; but when they were still some distance short of Ephrath, Rachel was in childbirth, and she had hard labor.  When her labor was at its hardest, the midwife said to her, ‘Have no fear, for it is another boy for you.’  But as she breathed her last — for she was dying — she named him Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin.  Thus Rachel died....

September 26, 2018

The word Mincha literally means present, gift or offering.  Normally at Mincha on Yom Kippur you may experience a Torah service, with a reading either about forbidden relationships or about being a holy people (I prefer the latter) and Haftarah Yonah/Jonah, either with a traditional or an experimental presentation, and end with an Amidah.  Today … not!


I wrote this SpeakChorus, Marginalizatio...

April 20, 2018

(Presented at Limmud Vancouver, 2018)

When I was in Rabbinic school, I took a history course on the Jewish Enlightenment/Haskalah, a movement which arose first in Western Europe (Germany mainly) and later in Eastern Europe, from the late 18th until the late 19th centuries.

Required reading for the course was Iris Parush’s book Reading Jewish Women: Marginality and Modernization in Nineteenth-Century...

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