Guest in Your Pulpit - Deborah Pires

Guest in Your Pulpit

Deborah Singer Pires is Associate Professor of English Emeritus. She is Co-President of the UU Congregation of the Palisades, Englewood, which has had a part-time minister for many years. She has been creating and presenting services since 2003


  • Who Am I?: Ancestry – Who am I? We spend our lives trying to answer this question. With the advent of DNA testing, thousands of people are consulting genealogy sites to gain insight into their identity and help answer this question. What do these sites tell us and how does the information challenge how we see ourselves in the world?
  • Side with Love – We believe that all people deserve love and respect. No person should be dehumanized through acts of exclusion, oppression, or violence. We have listened to many acts of hatred lately but today, let’s listen to some courageous acts of love, and learn about the UU’s campaign to stand on the side of love to overcome hate.
  • Turn Off the Noise – What can we learn from the Jewish tradition of observing the Sabbath to help us keep our sanity during times of insanity? First, turn off the media. Join us to find out what else Sabbath observers do to maintain a sense of peace.
  • New Year-New Spirit – Come celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, as we experience the sweetness and joy of this important Jewish holiday. It is also the beginning of a 10-day period of rigorous spiritual self-examination ending with the most holy day of the year, Yom Kippur. We will look at the meaning and traditions of these High Holy days and what we, as UU’s, can learn from them.
  • Come On, Get Happy – What is happiness? How do we find it? What makes us unhappy? Everyone suffers but can we reduce our suffering? Join us to find the answers.
  • Celebrations – Most people celebrate major events without thinking about the spiritual necessity of these celebrations. Why do we celebrate? Is it important to celebrate? Is there a place for ritual in our celebrations? We’ll discuss these questions and consequences of celebrating (or not) the special times of our lives.
  • Spirituality of the Goddess – “The symbolism of the Goddess is not parallel to God the Father. The Goddess does not rule the world. She IS the world. Manifest in each of us, she can be known internally by every individual.”– Starhawk. Join us as we reflect on Goddess spirituality and explore when God was a woman.
  • From Darkness to Light – These are dark times. Join us as we reflect on the mentality that promotes hatred and war, how peacemakers have tried to bring light into the world, our responsibility to further our shared humanity, and our intention for hope and peace. Let us be conduits for taking the world from darkness into light by being the light we want to see in the world.
  • Honoring Those Who Mother, Celebrating Mothers’ Day - There are many ways of being a “mother”. We celebrate all people who nurture - birth mothers, adoptive parents, even pet owners. Join us in the celebration of those who take care of us.
  • Chanukah – Festival of Lights - The Jewish winter holiday of Chanukah is a festival of light and hope. Join us as we look at the celebration of Chanukah, symbolism of light, finding our inner light, and dispelling the darkness. In the midst of darkness, there is always light.
  • Loss, Healing, and Moving On – Loss of a loved one is devastating. How do we move past it? What is the experience and process of grief? Join us as we explore this human condition.
  • Day of the Dead – Dia de Los Muertos - The Day of the Dead holiday on November first and second is celebrated with much joy in Mexico. It is believed that a portal is opened on these days and ancestors and friends return from the dead. They are welcomed into homes with flowers and altars which are made with some of the deceased’s favorite things to entice them to visit. Join us to learn about a different way of viewing death.
  • A House is Not a Home - What do you visualize when you hear the word “home”? Do we all see the same thing? Where does our sense of home come from? What’s the difference between a house and a home? If we live with intentionality and gratitude in our homes, they will reflect who we are and be the places of comfort and refuge that we desire. In today’s service, we will deepen our understanding of the significance, symbolism, and importance of house and home.
  • Creativity and the Human Spirit – We may not think of ourselves as creative, but we are creative beings. It is part of our DNA. Find out the many ways of being creative and how this part of us impacts our lives.
  • Resistance and Liberation in the Passover Stories - Passover is the Jewish Festival of Freedom. The inspiring Passover stories of resistance have much to teach us. Freedom is never handed to us, it must be fought for, and it is not easily won. Despite the odds, we must continue to resist tyranny, inequality, and “slavery” in all its forms.
  • Nurturing the Beauty of Elderhood – Getting older can be a dynamic time of life with much joy and beauty. Let’s change the vocabulary we use to talk about being a senior and switch the paradigm from getting older as becoming frail and useless to a time of strength and productivity. Join us as we reflect on how to appreciate our elderhood.

Availability: Within 50 miles of Teaneck, NJ or virtually.

Fee arrangements: Whatever your congregation's standard fee for presenters.

Contact: Email Deborah Pires at