Author Archives: Rachel Petroff Kessler

Rachel Petroff Kessler

About Rachel Petroff Kessler

is the Family Educator at Temple Isaiah in Fulton, Maryland. Originally from upstate New York, Rachel has worked as a Jewish educator in a variety of settings, including Hillel at Binghamton, Kutz: NFTY’s Campus for Reform Jewish Teens, and Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Manhattan. Rachel graduated from HUC-JIR’s New York School of Education in April 2010 with a Masters in Religious Education and was a summer fellow at Yeshivat Hadar in 2009.

Hineini

Rachel Petroff Kessler
August 20, 2014

  There came a time when God put Abraham to the test. “Abraham!” God said to him, and Abraham answered, “Here I am.” – Genesis 22:1 As I approach Rosh Hashanah this year, I am wondering about what it means to say, “Hineini, here I am.” What does it mean to be present, to recognize More »

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Won’t You be my Neighbor?

Rachel Petroff Kessler
June 10, 2014

After renting for the better part of a decade, my husband and I bought a home a few months ago. The American Dream brought to life – single family house, more bedrooms than people (for now, anyway), big back yard, and, perhaps most importantly, a great neighborhood. Before we moved, I had rosy visions of More »

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Settled but not Static

Rachel Petroff Kessler
January 27, 2014

When my husband turned thirty this fall, I played him this Tim McGraw song in honor of the occasion. My favorite line, “Maybe now I’ve conquered all my adolescent fears/and I’ll do it better in my next thirty years” encapsulates my hopes for this decade, which I’ll be entering myself in just a few months. More »

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What do I tell them?

Rachel Petroff Kessler
October 30, 2013

I tell my students: We pray facing Jerusalem, towards the Kotel, to remind us how important those places are to the Jewish people. I tell them: for many generations the Kotel has been a sacred space for our people, a remnant and reminder of the ancient Temples that stood in Jerusalem. I tell them: one More »

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She-asani Kirtzono

Rachel Petroff Kessler
September 26, 2013

On Yom Kippur, I often find myself vacillating between two extremes. I find myself apologizing to God – I’m sorry I have not lived up to the potential You have placed within me. Then I stop short, wondering if this is the height of hubris – who am I to assume that God has created More »

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Truth, Broken Hearts, and the Status Quo

Rachel Petroff Kessler
June 17, 2013

For most of my childhood, what I was taught about Israel was designed to cultivate passionate, progressive Zionism. In college I was determined to attempt to rectify the imbalance and pursued a Middle Eastern Studies major, with the goal of learning “the other side of the story.” I was committed to building an authentic narrative More »

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A Covenant of Parenthood

Rachel Petroff Kessler
May 17, 2013

My sweet little girl took her sweet time coming into this world. As my due date approached and passed, my husband and I eagerly anticipated her arrival and worked to prepare our home and our hearts for the arrival of our baby. Along with building the crib, washing the newborn clothes, and preparing freezer meals, More »

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