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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. …


Heard Round Wexworld: "I can't breathe"

Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2014 by Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Rabbi Shai Held, and Rabbi David Rosenn

Thursday evening, December 4, 2014, Jewish leaders and organizations called for a protest on the Upper West Side of Manhattan “to rectify the structural injustices that give rise to the daily violations of the dignity of our fellow citizens of color” in response to Eric Garner’s death. Here are some of their reflections: “People have congratulated us for our courage in being arrested. You know, at the end of the day, while it was frightening, it was more inconvenient tha…


110% Fun and More!

Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2014 by Deena S. Borzak

The Szarvas Fellowships, directed by Rabbi Seth Braunstein, is for rising North American 11th  and 12th graders and is a pluralistic two-week summer program in Hungary at Camp Szarvas. Camp Szarvas is the JDC-Lauder international youth camp with participants from over 25 countries.  The Fellows are from throughout North America and from every kind of Jewish background imaginable.    They embark on an intense two-week program which is unique in its learning of our peoplehoo…


Jewish Rebrand- Let's Get Rid of the Old Labels

Posted on Wednesday, December 03, 2014 by David Strulowitz

"The first thing we do is kill all the lawyers"- Shakespeare    Why would we kill all the lawyers? Perhaps among the many reasons is that they make all those detailed rules. Rules that are hard for the rest of us to follow. Rules that complicate life, beyond the point of manageability for many other non-lawyers. In their defense, their actions may even have what they perceive to be our best interests in mind. But ultimately the rules keep lawyers employed because you can't manage wit…


When Leaders Make Bad Decisions

Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 by David Arnow and Paul Ohana

Jacob acquires Esau’s birthright for a bowl of stew. Jacob, the home-body buys; Esau, the hunter, sells. Twin brothers — very different decisions. The story has a lot to say about what goes into making a good long-term decision.   We can assume that as a good hunter Esau possessed a number of physical skills along with other abilities — the capacity to anticipate his quarry’s moves, to bide his time, to strike at the opportune moment and an element of guile as well…


Heard Round Wexworld: #JFNAGA

Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 by Einat Hurvitz, Abby Phelps, Joshua Fixler and Elizabeth Bonney

The Wexner Foundation brought Wexner Graduate Fellow Classes 24 and 25 and Wexner Israel Fellowship Class 26 to this year’s JFNA General Assembly.  As a group, we gathered for meals and to reflect throughout on the entire experience, from the plenaries to the individual sessions.  Participants were also honored to hear from Vice President Joe Biden, and to experience a few “FEDTalks,” the GA’s own take on TEDtalks.  Fellows had the chance to mingle with man…


Can Websites Be Spry? Giving the Public Power Tools

Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 by Jason Rubenstein

I’m proud and grateful to invite the Wexner community — and those in your communities — to explore Hadar’s new website:   This isn’t another brochure site: its heart is a pair of databases of durable, high-quality content. The site’s most ambitious and distinctive feature is a new tool for prayer-leaders, from beginner to experienced. At a glance, users can stream or download the standard (Ashkenazi) nusach for a prayer, c…


And the Walls Come Tumbling Down

Posted on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 by Jacob Ari Labendz

Twenty-five years have passed since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Erected in 1961, it stood less than a kilometer from where I sit now. The end of the Cold War destabilized Jewish identities and politics around the world. I still recall marching on Washington in 1987 to “free” Soviet Jewry.  In a matter of moments, that sacred mission, which had been a cornerstone of American Jewish life, no longer demanded our attention. Berlin also reminds us of the Second World War and the Hol…


Going Up

Posted on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 by Rabbi Akivah Herzfeld

Aliyah was a dream that my wife and I had, sometimes talking about it as a dream for the distant future. As we became parents to four children, we looked around and considered the best place to raise them. We visited Israel on a pilot trip last January to see if we should move there.   We were especially drawn to Israel because of the love that Israelis showed to our little children, the oldest of whom was then only five years old. One example: At the end of a long and tiring three weeks …


Heard ‘Round Wexworld: Mission Up!

Posted on Wednesday, November 05, 2014 by Mojdeh Khaghan Danial, Mytyl Simancas-Bister, Ellen Rose

True to its name, a mission is extremely purpose-driven, and superbly intense. It jam-packs past, present, future, fear, uncertainty and hope, and you come home reeling and exhausted from a sensory and emotional overload. None of this is negative — it is usually a self-and-community-transforming-event that you slowly unpack and savor for some time thereafter.   My husband Robert and I very recently had the privilege to lead approximately 50 fellow Miamians to Berlin and then Is…


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