Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Articles written by Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein

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  • When Jewish holidays can seem like too much, and meaning-making too soon

    Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein|May 24, 2024

    This story was originally published on My Jewish Learning. (JTA) - My son's hair is more unruly than usual, though that's typical for this time of year. In our family, we follow the custom of not cutting our hair during the Omer, the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot. The Omer is treated as a time of mourning - first marking the deaths of many thousands of Jews in the Bar Kochba revolt and subsequent plague in 132 CE, and later taking on significance as the time of year when Ashkenazi Jews...

  • Rabbis are struggling to protect Jews' physical and spiritual health - they deserve support, not shame

    Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein|Sep 10, 2021

    (JTA) — Over the past year, I have led efforts to teach, guide and coach rabbis and other clergy of every Jewish denomination. We have worked with over 500 individual members of the clergy, serving hundreds of thousands of people since the COVID-19 pandemic began. So let me say this to my dear clergy colleagues: As we celebrate another High Holiday season under the shadow of the pandemic, I know that there is nothing you need more than support in making (or when prevented from making) impossible decisions about vaccinations, masks, social d...