WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2015-2016

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/596643

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Page 87 of 211

"If I wasn't the rabbi here, it would be where I'd choose to belong," Sisenwine said, an alignment that doesn't always happen for religious leaders and their families. He lives in Newton with his wife, Heidi, a teacher at the Rashi School, and their three daughters. The entire fam- ily attends TBE. Nor do all of his colleagues working in urban settings understand his desire to serve a suburban congregation. On the surface, he said suburban life can look deceptively comfortable. There's a joke he likes to tell about God calling out to a drowning man to "tell me your posi- tion." The man answers with his job title. "Despite all his wealth and prestige, that man remains adrift," Sisenwine said. "He is drowning because he does not know his true position in the world, in his community." Participating in a community of faith, however, opens that door and can strengthen one's sense of belonging and purpose. At TBE, Sisenwine said he considers it a failure if students learn the Hebrew alphabet in their classes before they learn one another's names. "It can be harder with adults," he said, noting the trend to take spiri- tuality inward and making it a solo practice, be it meditation, yoga, or communing with nature. "These are all things I like to do," he said, but they are safe practices. "Once you introduce other people, things can get messy," he said. But moments of difficulty are often the moments closest to God. "Our desire to help is a spiritual impulse," he said, and acting on that impulse he calls, "flexing one's mitzvah muscles." In Hebrew, mitzvah means commandment or a charitable, beneficial act performed by another person. And like all muscles, they can atrophy, Sisenwine said. Being a member of a vibrant faith community like TBE gives people the chance to exercise those muscles with one another and work toward making 86 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 5 / 2 0 1 6 Our Religous Leaders

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