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01/14/2019 01:07:52 PM


Cantor Rush Ussher

From Cantor Ruth:


We ended this secular year with a wonderful demonstration of the power of community. Each year on the anniversary of the death of a mother or father, husband or wife, sister or brother or children, it’s traditional to attend services and say kaddish. For that, 10 adult Jews are needed. One such kaddish fell on the recent holiday break when many of our regular service attendees were going to be away. We put out a request and HCS members responded with gusto. We had our minyan very early on and by the time kaddish happened we had a good-sized group. It was heartwarming to see HCS community in action!


I’ve been thinking about the power of our joining together in prayer. Every service I read our misheberach list, the names of congregants, their family members or friends who are in need of prayers of healing and of strength to deal with their illnesses. We then sing Debbie Friedman’s Misheberach. Often, I hear directly from people on the list about how much it helps them knowing that we’re praying for them. They tell me they feel lifted up. Some believe the prayers have a direct effect, others aren’t sure but absolutely know that they feel less alone and more supported. It feels wonderful to know that we impact people that way.


Speaking about community, our Hanukah service and dinner was a great success! There were around 90 people attending and the service was great fun. Jill and I are discussing making some changes to our Friday night services. We’ll be doing some experimenting and, of course, welcome all feedback.


If anyone is interested in leading the English readings at Shabbat morning services please let me know. It doesn’t need to be often, whatever fits your schedule. I would appreciate the help.


Lastly, the BFOR study is still open. This study tests Ashkenazi Jews for BRCA mutations. So why bother to get tested? Simply because, if you know you have this genetic mutation, there’s improved screening, risk-reducing medication or preventive surgery that can save your life. I have the mutation and have chosen a combination of improved screening for breast cancer and preventive surgery for ovarian cancer. I’ll be happy to discuss it with you if you’d like. I strongly encourage you to participate in the study. It’s simple, free, convenient and, potentially, life-saving for you and your children. If every Ashkenazi Jew in the US got tested, 100,000 lives would be saved!


Ruth Ossher

Cantorial Soloist



Sat, February 22 2020 27 Shevat 5780