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Civil Discourse Around the Thanksgiving Table

Posted on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 by Becca Thomas

At a recent Wexner Summit that included Wexner Israel Fellows and Senior Leaders, Graduate Fellowship Alumni and Heritage Program Alumni, this dynamic group came together for the final Summit in a series about Civil Discourse. Having started the conversation early in 2017, this group has engaged in deep dialogue, learning, problem-solving and collaborative work targeted at enhancing the understanding of those engaged in conversation.   Among the many lessons and takeaways gleaned from th…

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The World’s Jewish Museum - Showing That Our Tribe is Universal

Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2018 by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin and Laura Solomon

Sometimes our identity and membership in this wonderful tribe of Jews creates tension with Western notions of political and social universalism. It can feel like cognitive dissonance or yet another “gap” to add to those between Democrats and Republicans, US and Israeli Jews, the secular and religious, pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian. Maybe each us of just needs to be a “[wo]man in the streets and Jew at home,” to quote Yehuda Leib Gordon.   But that’s not wha…

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Condolences from WHP Montreal 17 to Pittsburgh 18

Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 by Samantha Mintz

Wexner Heritage Member Samantha Mintz (Montreal 17) was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. She received her BCL and LLB from McGill University and practiced tax and estate planning in a law and accounting firm in Montreal before working as a tax planning professional at the Jewish Community Foundation of Montreal. Samantha is now a full-time volunteer channeling her energy as Vice President of Congregation Shaar Hashomayim and is a member of the planning and allocations committee at Fede…

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Books for Healing Pittsburgh's Children

Posted on Wednesday, November 07, 2018 by Kristen Keller

As I sit down to write this, it has been nine days since the horrific, antisemitic massacre at Tree of Life-Or L’Simcha in Pittsburgh. I’ve tried every day for the past five days to get my thoughts together and write something. Nothing seems right.    Chances are, you have read many news articles and watched the news and seen pictures of my beautiful city. Perhaps you saw the front page of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, with the first line of Mourner’s Kaddish printe…

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Talking about the Pittsburgh Massacre with Alan Dershowitz

Posted on Tuesday, November 06, 2018 by Danny Grossman

I am turning to you, fellow Wexnerim, to share the latest edition of One on One with Alan Dershowitz, which includes a moving segment with Wexner Heritage Alum Lou Weiss (Pittsburgh) from Pittsburgh's Tree of Life * Or L'Simcha synagogue and a discussion on how Israel views this tragedy.   To engage in public diplomacy on behalf of Israel, We launched this show over two years ago with a veteran warrior in the realm, Professor Alan Dershowitz. With my help Professor Dershowitz ha…

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Braiding Stories and Interpretation into Challah

Posted on Monday, November 05, 2018 by Vanessa Harper

A little over a year ago — last Shabbat Noach — I made a rainbow challah to bring to a school shabbaton. One of my teachers asked, “Wow, do you theme your challot to the parasha every week?” Having never made challah with any regularity, let alone a parasha-themed challah before that afternoon, I replied foolishly, “I guess I do now!”   Thus began a year-long passion project in creative culinary Torah commentary — punnily dubbed “lechlechall…

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Applying Wexner Learnings to Troubled Times

Posted on Monday, October 29, 2018 by Ron Klein and Michael Rosenzweig

Our participation in the Wexner Heritage Program (our respective city cohorts, Boca Raton and Atlanta, launched in the same year — 1989) was one of the most transformative experiences of our lives. Since then, we have consistently, and with great pride, applied the Jewish learning and leadership training Wexner gave us to virtually every leadership position we’ve held. The latest such opportunity is our involvement in the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA).   Ron, wh…

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The Dichotomy of Choice

Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2018 by Yelena Kutikova

When I was younger, I told myself that I would never visit Germany. Given my family history, it is not surprising why I chose this stance. My great grandmother was killed in Babi Yar, while many other family members died or greatly suffered by the hands of Nazis during World War II.   However, victim-hood wasn’t the only war narrative my family passed on to me. As far as I can remember, my grandfather always told me stories about his experiences as a soldier during WW II and the to…

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Guys Talking About Sexual Assault and Consent

Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2018 by Cody Greenes

I discovered Moving Traditions through our local Federation. I heard their presentation as a board member and was floored. I came up afterward and asked how I could help. The Shevet programming allows our guys (not "boys") to set aside time for reflection on their growth in this world as young Jewish men. CEO Deborah Meyer is right on point in the piece below: we (adult volunteers) don't teach or tell, rather we are trained to help guide a discussion …

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Jewish Rockstars, Jewish Leaders

Posted on Tuesday, October 09, 2018 by Scott Harris

“Why don’t I write a song for our siyyum?” was what came out of my mouth one Monday night last Spring. My idea was to add some original music to our Siyyum, our final thank you, that would be presented at our last Wexner Heritage Institute in Utah. Never mind that I hadn’t written a song in at least a decade!   Yet one morning in May, as I set out on a long run, the kernel of a melody popped into my head. I got home and dashed something out and immediately shared i…

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