Author Archives: Rhonda Shapiro-Rieser

Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a Tzadik

After Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, 11-year-old Micah Blay made a pilgrimage to the U.S. Supreme Court and blew the shofar for the hundreds of people gathered there. In keeping with Jewish custom, they laid small stones on the steps … Continue reading

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People of the Mask

My son is now a project manager for a large hospital system.  Two weeks ago, he took on the task of getting remote communications and monitoring programs into ICUs  so nurses could monitor Covid-19 patients without having to always enter … Continue reading

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Uncertainty

There is a Jewish holiday dedicated to uncertainty. Its very name, Purim, means “dice.” During the holiday, the community reads the Book of Esther, a biblical book in which God is never mentioned. In the Book of Esther, God works … Continue reading

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Darkness and Light

There are verses in psalm 139 that I have used (to mix my spiritual metaphors) like a Zen Koan. “If I were to say that darkness will shadow me, then night would be light on my account…Night shines as day.” … Continue reading

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Lessons from Groot

Last weekend I watched a stupid movie with my son and my daughter in law.  My son is involved with the world of medical care, and my daughter-in-law is director of a preschool. They both spend a lot of time … Continue reading

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School for Social Work Chaplaincy

At the close of Spring semester, Jewish Student Advisor Rabbi Rhonda Shapiro-Rieser moves over to the Smith School for Social Work (SSW) to act as their summer chaplain.  The SSW has an intense summer residency program where students do two … Continue reading

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Queer Talmud Weekend

On a freezing February evening in the center of Northampton, Jewish students, many wearing yarmulkes, stood in support of Dreamers.  This action epitomizes the focus of the Smith College Jewish Community, the largest Jewish organization on campus. The Jewish students … Continue reading

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Ancient Standard Time

In September, Jewish students entered a slightly different time zone—Ancient Standard Time. Coming to school as Smith students, theirs was the season for back-to-school, classes beginning, and maybe Mountain Day. However, as Jewish students, September was also Rosh HaShanah, the … Continue reading

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The Baby Torah

“Do you want a Torah?  It belonged to my great-grandfather. My family is either going to donate it to our synagogue or give it to you.” The year was 2011, and the question came from a student, Emma Cooke, as … Continue reading

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A Bright Future for SCJC

Jewish student life at Smith is in a phase of growth and vibrancy. In the two years since the group officially changed its name from Smith Hillel to the Smith College Jewish Community (SCJC), the organization has grown exponentially. Shabbat … Continue reading

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