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A Few Words from Rabbi Craig Marantz and Director of Operations Jessica Katz

From Rabbi Marantz:

People have been asking me about the Gaza-Israel conflict. In response, I'm sharing an important article which gives a fair and balanced critique and commentary about the matters at hand. I'm happy to hear from people while the Emanuel group is in Israel; I can be reached by email at The Gaza-Israel conflict article can be read by clicking HERE

From Jessica Katz:


The last time I submitted an article to the Emanuel Bulletin I reflected on the importance of ritual items- both personal and professional- and how necessary they are in the practice of day-to-day Jewish life. I've been thinking a lot about blessings lately, especially after my recent return from an attempt to make my childhood dream of seeing a tornado come true.

I first went tornado chasing two years ago, at the end of April. As the Emanuel community celebrated Rabbi Zedek at Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate, I was driving through seven different states with a tour group, hoping to find a special type of thunderstorm. It's a tall order- only one in a thousand storms produces a tornado. On my 2016 trip the weather was gorgeous- blue skies, fair winds, and rarely a cloud to be seen. I returned home with a newly acquired appreciation for the places I'd never have visited otherwise (west Texas or Wyoming, for example).

The biggest difference between my trip in 2016 and this year's adventure is the presence of Emanuel in my life. It's been nearly two years since I started here, and I'm perpetually grateful for the people I've met. I derive great joy from supporting my colleagues and our lay leaders, and I get my spiritual warm-fuzzies from making sure that our congregants and volunteers can be safe and comfortable as they attend services and programs alike. As an Edgewater resident, I experience a special sort of fulfillment whenever I encounter Emanuel's positive impact in the community at large. I feel like participating in the Havdalah service during April's Legacy Weekend and being blessed by Rabbi Marantz at the May Share Shabbat (alongside those currently on the Israel trip) gave me an extra ethereal boost before I left on my tornado seeking journey.

Four days of storm chasing connected me with the environment in a spiritual way that is difficult to replicate in a big city. I had the chance to witness driving rain, hail, lots of lightning, three different rainbows and yes- even a tornado. I actually found myself saying a shehechiyanu or two in the middle of a field in Oklahoma- there is always room for an extra blessing when experiencing a natural miracle. While it's always nice to go away, I was equally energized to return to work this past Friday and participate in Sunday's Shavuot service and Mitzvah Day. There's so much to celebrate in and around Emanuel. Mazel Tov to this past weekend's confirmands, and we all wish Rabbi Marantz and the rest of the Israel trip participants bon voyage! May your journeys bring you many unexpected blessings.

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