Now is the time for empowerment

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Passover in a new home and a new city had gone smoothly enough, the joy of celebrating freedom alongside thousands of fellow Jews in such a densely populated space drowning out all of the last-minute stresses that had led into the holiday. By the end of the eight-day festival, the picture outside was one of… Read More

Peace in Our Time

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The year 1939 saw an upheaval the likes of which the modern world has rarely experienced. German troops marched into Poland that September, ushering in a world war that would ultimately change the maps of Europe and the Middle East, lay waste to vast swaths of land spanning three continents and wipe out millions of… Read More

Kansas Gunman Unfortunately Nothing New

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Any doubts as to the danger of anti-Semitism in the United States were unfortunately put to rest this week when a gunman’s bullets — smack dab in the middle of middle America — claimed the lives of three people at Jewish institutions in Overland Park, Kan. We now know that the 73-year-old man from Aurora,… Read More

Giving Our Children a Chance

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Every now and then, events and timing conspire to offer opportunities for reflection. Looking back at what transpired on the world stage the past week and a half, it’s hard not to wonder: How, when, why did things get so bad? The collapse of the so-called “peace talks” between the Israelis and the Palestinians was… Read More

Giving Thanks for the Memories

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Memory is a particularly powerful faculty. It helps us learn, it can provide a guide by which to judge future actions and, along with emotions, serves as the foundation upon which human experience is built. Memory is frequently passive, but in a Jewish context it is seen more in terms of a positive act. That’s… Read More

The Stories That Connect Us

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At a time in life when others get lost in music or drugs or the high school social scene, one particular headstrong 16-year-old decides that his teenage rebellion requires wearing a yarmulke. He knows little about kashrut, even less about Jewish history and practice, but he knows that he’s Jewish. And so he makes a… Read More

Embracing the Purim Spirit

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You certainly don’t need to be reminded, but there’s nothing like spending Purim in Baltimore. As if last week’s pre-holiday carnivals weren’t enough, entire streets became parking lots on Sunday, bumper-to-bumper traffic competing with costumed revelers in the race to deliver precious shlach manot to neighbors and friends. The scene was one of tremendous unity,… Read More

True Joy Needn’t Be Hard to Come By

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You don’t need to be a political scientist to recognize that what passes for social discourse nowadays is anything but social. The severity of the invective and the frequency with which it appears can be observed in the corridors of power, can be read in the newspapers — particularly among the letters to the editor… Read More

Admiring the Youthful Pursuit of Truth

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God bless the vibrancy of youth. I use this variant of similar expressions aired by countless old men and women throughout the ages not in an attempt to join their wise ranks, but to remark approvingly at the dedication of those who will soon become the Jewish community’s next cadre of leaders. There they were,… Read More

Enjoy the Jewish experience

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Tom Steyer, it seems, is making a play for the libertarian and politically active Koch brothers. Speaking to National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” earlier this week, the California billionaire investor spoke of his plans to invest $100 million to influence the debate surrounding the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada’s Tar Sands… Read More