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Rabbi Wendi Geffen
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Rabbi Wendi Geffen has served as one of the rabbis at North Shore Congregation Israel in suburban Chicago since 2002. She is passionate about Judaism, Torah and the way these ancient wisdom sources can add meaning to our lives and enable us to better our world still today. She sees tikkun olam, the Jewish tenet of repairing the world, as a critical part of living a Jewish life, and works to empower the synagogue and larger community around the imperative to pursue tzedek/justice and chesed/loving-kindness. Rabbi Geffen was a 2011-2012 American Jewish World Service Goldberg Writer’s Fellow, is a 2012-2013 Rabbis Without Borders Fellow, and her blog “Pri haGeffen” can be found at

Entries by Rabbi Wendi Geffen

The Climate of Our Hearts

(0) Comments | Posted August 4, 2014 | 1:44 PM

Last week, many news outlets reported on an atmospheric occurrence from two years ago. According to The Washington Post, "On July 23, 2012, the sun unleashed two massive clouds of plasma that barely missed a catastrophic encounter with the Earth's atmosphere.  ...Had this event occurred a week earlier...

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If We Choose to Pray

(12) Comments | Posted April 17, 2013 | 10:26 AM

If we choose to pray to God, let's not direct our prayers to the Divine for Boston, for the Red Sox, for the Marathon, or for any other thing that doesn't breathe.

Let's direct our prayers to God for people. Let's pray for 8-year-old Martin Richard's family and friends and...

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Simultaneous Joy and Pain: The Wisdom of the Counting of the Omer

(0) Comments | Posted April 8, 2013 | 1:00 PM

This year at our Passover Seder, I experienced something deeply powerful -- something I had not felt in the context of Passover before. Like many, we spend much of our Seder going around the table, each reading a section from the Haggadah out loud. Generally, because our Seder is populated...

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Are We There Yet? The Real Message of the Passover Seder

(0) Comments | Posted March 24, 2013 | 12:34 PM

Each year at the Passover Seder, we read these words:

"This year we are here, next year, in the land of Israel.
This year we are slaves, next year, free people."
(From Ha Lachma Anya, "This is the Bread of Affliction")

We navigate the entire Seder through this dichotomy, as...

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Remembering My Grandmother's Hands: A Meditation on Psalm 90

(1) Comments | Posted January 28, 2013 | 8:01 PM

We are in her house in Dallas. Sesame Street plays on the television I am supposed to be watching. But instead, I watch her, specifically her hands. She grips her new, clean easel, finagling its three legs in different positions until it stands independently. She extends her arms, pinching her...

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The 'Fathomability' of Gun Violence Against Children: Remembering Noah Pozner and Aliyah Shell

(0) Comments | Posted December 19, 2012 | 10:51 AM

Like most everyone I know, I am having a really hard time coping with the horrific murders in Connecticut. Since I have young children myself, I keep having these nightmarish visions placing our family there, me waiting at the fire station and my child never returning to me. I see...

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Equality for All at the Western Wall

(61) Comments | Posted October 18, 2012 | 4:24 PM

When women are detained and arrested at the Western Wall in Jerusalem for wearing tallitot (Jewish prayer shawls) and "endangering public peace" by intoning word and melody of prayer, we are all diminished: all genders, all denominations, all people of faith, all lovers of Israel, all who value equal rights,...

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Fasting From Rotten Tomatoes: The High Holy Days and the Emancipation Proclamation

(5) Comments | Posted September 20, 2012 | 1:11 PM

As Jews, we find ourselves in one of the most spiritually intense periods of the year -- the Aseret Ymei Teshuvah -- the 10 Days of Repentance carrying us from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur. Our tradition envisions that the gates of Divine Judgment open on Rosh Hashanah and close...

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