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How Can We Heal America?

01/21/2021 04:00:54 PM


Doug Fabrizo

This week, newly-inaugurated President Joe Biden told the country that restoring the soul of America will require more than words; it "requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity."

He begins his term in office at a time when unity seems not only elusive, but nearly impossible. RadioWest looks at the current state of our nation, asking a handful of thoughtful community members if they believe that healing and unity are possible, and if so, how we might get there.

Guests include Rabbi Samuel L. Spector (at the 33:00 minute mark). Listen here.

How one Jewish family is adapting its Hanukkah celebration this year

11/30/2020 06:21:10 PM


Heather Lawrence

Before 2020, Larry and Laura Green of Sandy gathered with friends to light the Hanukkiah candles and celebrate Hanukkah. (Photo courtesy of Larry Green)

Larry Green is on the Board of Directors at Congregation Kol Ami Synagogue in Salt Lake City. As a board, they argue back and forth about the best way to do things, but they agree on one thing—they want their members to stay safe while having meaningful Hanukkah celebrations.  

“There’s an old joke that if you ask two Jews a question, you’ll get three opinions. We’re a people who are commanded to seek out truth, and we do that by asking a lot of questions and arguing.  

“But taking safety precautions is critical as the guardians of our congregation and community. We take that job seriously,” Green said. 

Those precautions will limit Hanukkah celebrations to family members in their homes. This year, the eight-day (night) celebration of Hanukkah is Dec. 10-18.


How Utahns can celebrate holidays safely during the coronavirus pandemic

09/29/2020 08:56:13 PM


Hayley Crombleholme

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — The holidays are going to look a little different this year, as the CDC released recommendations on how to celebrate safely.

While some are looking ahead to Christmas or Thanksgiving, in the Jewish community, the High Holidays are already here. On Monday, Yom Kippur looked a little different for congregation Kol Ami, as they’ve suspended all in-person events.

Rabbi Samuel Spector said, "One of the most meaningful parts of Yom Kippur for us is to be able to have a personal prayer on the holiest day of the year in front of our arc.”

He says their temple was set to open to members this week for the first time since March. But a rise in cases of COVID-19 changed that.

“Once we started to see the numbers of COVID cases in Utah dramatically increase to 1200, 1400 diagnoses a day, we asked ourselves how can we reopen?" he said.

Yom Kippur is a day of atonement, fasting, and typically, avoiding technology. But the congregation held a livestream of services.

Read more and see the video

How COVID-19 has disrupted Judaism’s most sacred High Holidays

09/10/2020 10:44:58 AM


Trent Toone

Rabbi Samuel Spector and Cantor Laurence Loeb review the materials before prerecording the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur service at Congregation Kol Ami in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020.

Under “normal” circumstances, Rabbi Samuel L. Spector might find preparing for Judaism’s most sacred High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to be more fulfilling and joyful.

But because of COVID-19 and gathering restrictions, Congregation Kol Ami is prerecording this year’s services weeks in advance and the rabbi says he’s working around the clock to complete preparations.

“This year it’s insane. I’m like in my freakout mode right now. I’m mega stressed,” he said. “I’m working over 100 hours a week, that’s what this time of year is like. I say it’s my tax season. ... This is the month when I question all my life choices, but we’ll get through it.”

Rosh Hashanah, which means “head of the year” and is referred to as the Jewish New Year, begins on the evening of Friday, Sept. 18, and ends the evening of Sunday, Sep. 20.

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, starts the evening of Sunday, Sept. 27, and ends the evening of Monday, Sept. 28.

For Jews, the period connecting these important dates means an opportunity to gather, reflect and celebrate with family and friends. During a typical year, Jews take time off from work and large crowds assemble at their respective synagogues. Yom Kippur includes more prayer and a daylong fast.


Jews welcome Utah’s Ancestry making millions of Holocaust records available

08/30/2020 11:08:29 AM


Peggy Fletcher Stack

Seventy-five years after World War II ended, connections to the Holocaust keep fading as more and more survivors die. And the relatively few remaining find themselves at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Salt Lake City businesswoman and writer Faye Lincoln has been searching unsuccessfully for some of her relatives, even reaching out to Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the millions of victims, and getting no response.

“As the child of Holocaust survivors from Auschwitz, most historical memories of those killed have been lost,” said Lincoln, who is on the board of Salt Lake City’s Congregation Kol Ami synagogue. “It is challenging to access records during the occupation in order to trace relatives.”


Tue, April 20 2021 8 Iyyar 5781