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Chayei Sarah (The Lives of Sarah): Taking stock of our own transitions

11/15/2022 10:05:52 AM


Rabbi Chaya Gusfield

As we celebrate Shabbat this Friday night at Brandeis with the support of our Amazing Musical Ensemble, we take a peak at this week’s Torah portion, Chayei Sarah. I have been thinking a lot about transitions, and I noticed the theme of transitions throughout this portion. There are moments when transitions happen by choice, or not by choice, and when we see how people respond to their own or others’ transitions. Spoiler alert: Rebecca is asked if she wants to go with Isaac and she says yes. It appears to be a choice, not usually given women at that time....

Transitions are part of life. We can be in transition for many reasons. Sometimes the transitions can be harder than other times, even when it might be an expected change. As a chaplain and as a rabbi, I have accompanied many people in their times of transition and of course, I have had my own share of them. I realize Or Shalom is in transition.

Rabbi Katie is no longer our rabbi, we have a new building, a new Executive Director, an Interim Rabbi and we are cautiously starting to meet in person during an uncertain time.

I invite you to join me Saturday morning at Brandeis from 10–11:30 am to share how you feel about Rabbi Katie’s departure, (not “what Or Shalom should be doing now”, but how are you feeling) and to listen to others. If you are experiencing other transitions in your life, I invite you to join as well.

During our precious time together, I will share some Torah about transitions from this week’s parashah. I will invite those who want to share how they feel, to be witnessed by our group without offering responses. We will end our morning together with hopes for Or Shalom and one another.

If you wish to attend but are unable to do so, or prefer a private meeting, please contact me at and we can set up a time to talk.

This will be an RSVP event. Please email Amy at if you plan to come.












Artwork by Rabbi Chaya Gusfield

Wed, February 8 2023 17 Shevat 5783