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Refreshing Ta'anit 7a: Can Virtual Havruta Study Go Viral?

Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2015 by Rabbi Avi Killip

Picture it: Jenny, a secular Jew in Los Angeles, perhaps a Wexner Heritage alum, has a weekly online learning session with Orli, a religious Israeli who lives on a kibbutz, perhaps a Wexner Israel Fellowship alum. They are getting to know each other, and their appreciation for the differences and similarities between their lives grows deeper with each conversation. While studying Jewish philosophy online, the complexity and beauty of the Jewish people open before them as they learn the texts tog…

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Look Beyond the Nostalgia to Confront Current Race Issues

Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2015 by Rabbi Seth Goren

Rabbi Seth Goren (WGFA, Class 16) wrote an op-ed this week about the Jewish legacy of the Civil Rights Movement, and what its leaders teach him about how to live in 2015. Reprinted with permission from the Jewish Exponent. Of the many memorializations of the civil rights movement, among the most familiar to Jews is a photograph of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marching in 1965 in Selma, Ala. In addition to its own innate power, it is referenced as evidenc…

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When Saying “Je Suis Juif” is in Your Native Language

Posted on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 by Nir Buchler

Five years ago, when I became an American citizen, I was asked to share some thoughts in the Wexner newsletter. I wrote the following about my experience as a French Jew and antisemitism: "what upset me the most was the silence of the French non-Jewish majority. As Elie Wiesel once said 'to remain silent is the greatest sin of all'. I remember marching the streets of Paris and protesting with as many as 150,000 Jews, but feeling the silence and the indifference of too many people." Sunday's mar…

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Why Is Bilingual Education In Israel A Threat To Some, And A Need For Others?

Posted on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 by Uri Gopher

It is not often the case, but sometimes islands of hope coalesce to form a continent, solid enough to be marched upon. These were my thoughts on Friday morning on December 5th, as I watched masses of wonderful Arab and Jewish parents, children and staff of the Israeli bilingual schools, streaming into the Jerusalem junction that was our meeting place for a peaceful march of solidarity, following an arson attack on the Hand in Hand Bilingual School in Jerusalem earlier that week. Even the wi…

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What Do We Say No To?

Posted on Thursday, January 08, 2015 by Beth Cousens

New York Magazine has begun issuing its print magazine every other week, moving from 42 to 26 annual issues. Press coverage suggested that the magazine was losing ground by shrinking its product. A closer look reveals some complexity, that the magazine's digital platform has taken off and that resources once devoted to the print issue are now to be used to expand the magazine's on-line efforts. In other words, this seeming retrenchment is a focus in order for potential expansion: the magazine's …

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The Current UN Commission of Inquiry on Gaza

Posted on Thursday, January 08, 2015 by Elihu Stone

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Gaza is currently soliciting testimony, from “a wide range of victims of alleged violations“— which ostensibly also includes Israelis —  in the context of  the Gaza hostilities. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights has done much to publicize this call for information gathering amongst Gazans, while most Israelis aren’t aware of it and therefore, the evidence gathered will only tell the Palestinian side of the story. …

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How Many Emails Have You Received in the Last Hour Asking for an End of Year Contribution?

Posted on Tuesday, December 30, 2014 by Rabbi Josh Feigelson and Sheila Katz

Sifting through the end of year barrage of fundraising appeals, one can lose sight of why we give and to whom we are giving. As Jewish leaders, we take tsedakah seriously. The initiative we lead, Ask Big Questions, put together a guide to help us have some meaningful conversations about who we give to and why. There are other resources as well, including a clever video by American Jewish World Service.    Ask Big Questions: Where do you give?  

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Finding Community in the Scottish Highlands

Posted on Monday, December 29, 2014 by Margaret Jelinek Lewis

Our first encounter with the Aberdeen Hebrew Congregation was iconic: on our way toshul for Erev Shabbat services, thinking we might have taken a wrong turn, I suddenly saw two men on the other side of the street, walking with particular urgency. Both wore long dark coats and fedoras. “This is the right way!” I declared with renewed confidence. Sure enough, when we arrived at the small, barely-marked synagogue — just a townhouse tucked in among other nondescript townhouses &mda…

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Why a New Conversation About Aging is Good for the Jews

Posted on Monday, December 29, 2014 by Stuart Himmelfarb

As “Boomers” approach the end of their midlife careers and seek new paths to meaning while facing unprecedented challenges, Jewish leaders and communities should figure out how to engage them and  their skill sets, resources, idealism, time and energy. For the past few years, David Elcott -- of The Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at NYU -- and I have worked to change the conversation about aging in the Jewish community. We have also explored the implications …

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“Aba, Why Are There Water Cannons at the Top of Our Street?”

Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2014 by Eliot Goldstein

Amitai is cute. He is cuddly. He is sweet – with a smile that can melt your soul.  He just turned six on November 8th.  He lives in Jerusalem.  He is a first grader. Learning to read. Learning to write. Learning that life is complicated.  I am Amitai's father.  I am responsible for his well-being. I am responsible for his personal development. In Jewish tradition, as his father, I must teach him how to swim – meaning ensure he has the skills of survival. …

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