Shalom Rabbi Epstein!
 

Meet Rabbi Ephraim Epstein, the Jewish Federation's Community Scholar in Residence. This new role in the Jewish Federation family serves to increase Jewish content for the Federation and our family of agencies, in line with our mission to enhance Jewish life. 

Rabbi Epstein is the former senior rabbi at Congregation Sons of Israel in Cherry Hill, where he spent the last 21 years of his career. During the past two decades, Rabbi Epstein has established relationships with the organized Jewish community, the local police force, hospital leadership, and even the Governor's office, serving on the New Jersey Holocaust Commission for many years. 


 

Shabbat Table Talk

By Rabbi Ephraim Epstein

  • How many times did you have an encounter with another, whether it was positive, less positive, or even antagonistic; and later on, you think to yourself, “I wish I said this, I should have said th...

  • We are in touch with the doctor when there is a medical need. We call on an electrician when there’s a problem in the house. It’s almost March—did you call the accountant yet? 

    What about G...

  • Many are acquainted with the well-known rabbinic joke in which a man approaches a rabbi and asks the rabbi to turn him into a Kohen (a Jewish priest). The rabbi explains there is no such spiritual ...

  • Who gets the greatest amount of attention from the principal? Is it the troublemakers? Sure, they get the most negative attention in the school. Yet the high achievers, the ones that make the schoo...

  • The board room was brimming with suggestions about how to celebrate the upcoming milestone of the company. Each executive had a different idea—one more creative than the next—until the recent h...

  • We truly live in a 24/7 world. Whether we are in pursuit of a social connection, doing a work task, or seeking entertainment, one could stay busy all day and night. Yet, as a great sage once quippe...

  • Jonny exclaimed exuberantly when arriving home from the bus stop, “Mommy! Mommy! The Head of School asked me to be an ambassador at the Open House this Sunday!” Mom responded, “I am so proud ...

  • It’s quite an “aha” moment for a youngster when they realize that milk does not originate in a carton and food does not originate at the market. It has a beginning and a source. Our produce a...

  • After someone returns from a vacation, they are often asked: What were the highlights? While the entire experience was memorable and worthwhile, there are usually a few unique and titillating times...

  • “Who wants to go first?” asked the math teacher. All the kids looked quizzically at one another, but no one raised their hand. There was a 30 second silence until one boy stood up and walked to...

  • Preparing For the Seder

    It’s that time again, the annual Seder gathering. While many look forward to Passover with great anticipation, others may not feel the same or be able to celebrate in the...
  • Remember when you were a child and someone told you that you were going to receive a present in a few days? The anticipation was overwhelming and you likely kept asking, “Please give me a hint as...

  • You only get one shot to make a first impression. What is the first thing you say on a first date? You get an audience with your Senator to advocate on behalf of your community, what are the first...
  • What do we respond when we are told sad or upsetting news? We pause and then think for a second, but we simply don’t have the right words for this moment. In order to break the silence, we often ...

  • Some people are good at filling out forms, some are excellent at organizing, and others are great at parallel parking. We all have our talents. What about when we are required to reach beyond our c...

  • It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. The approach is key to all interactions. The words you choose, the style you utilize, and even the backdrop you pick will inspire the reaction y...
  • “You look just like your grandmother! I haven’t seen such a skilled basketball player in this league since your father graduated from high school twenty-five years ago. You have the voice of an...

  • According to the Torah all human beings are created individually, with unique talents and strengths to do their part to develop the world around them. When a person latches onto a unique talent the...

  • Equality vs. meritocracy: how do they square with one another? As fair and reasonable people we want everyone to have equal opportunities and benefits, yet when some people put in more effort and/o...

  • There’s a well-known Hebrew phrase used when giving directions to a person wandering towards a destination: Yashar, Yashar Vetishal Shamah. It means, “Go straight, straight and then ask.” Whi...

Words of Wisdom

A video series from Rabbi Ephraim Epstein

Learn about traditions, values, and rituals from our Community Scholar in Residence. Rabbi Epstein can also serve as a resource for everyday issues, offering perspective with a Jewish lens. He will answer all questions submitted by community members, and questions will remain anonymous unless permission is provided to share with the larger community. Highlight this as a resource that he provides to the entire community as our Community Scholar in Residence.

 

Have a question on your mind about Jewish culture or everyday life from a Jewish perspective? Submit it to our Community Scholar in Residence, Rabbi Ephraim Epstein: AsktheScholar@jfedsnj.org

 

Check back soon for new Q&As!

  • Q: HaShem gave us the ability to exercise freedom of will – making our own choices. Why, then, did he also give us guilt? Why, if one is committed to a decision (small or great), having implement...

  • Q: My brother and his wife are moving into a new home. Aside from hanging a mezuzah, are there any other rituals for a Jewish "house-warming"?

    A: Mazel Tov on the new home! Indeed, affixing a Me...

  • Q: Are there any Jewish rituals for the winter solstice?

    A: Since the Jewish calendar and festivals are primarily based on the Lunar Calendar, and the solstice is related to the sun, there is no ...

  • Q: What types of spices (Havdalah) should be used for Havdalah?

    A: Smelling sweet spices after Shabbat concludes serves to strengthen our souls that feel diminished after Shabbat goes away.

    The g...