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What is this place?

Posted on Monday, November 19, 2018 by Ari Moss

I am the grandchild of Shoah survivors. Until my Bar Mitzvah, I did not have the faintest understanding of what that truly meant. Around the time of my Bar Mitzvah, I began to understand the gravity of the Shoah, but prior to that, my experience and understanding of being Jewish had only the vaguest notion of tragedy.    For me however, defining Jewish identity in response to the Shoah would never work. I formed my Jewish identity at 9-years old when I began to attend summer camp in …


The World's Easiest Hatred

Posted on Wednesday, November 07, 2018 by Stephen Arnoff

Antisemitism has been called the world's oldest hatred. It's the shoe that has fit just about every kind of foot on paths of blame, violence and cultural misdirection winding through the world for more than two millennia. It is also the world's easiest hatred.   It’s easy for haters to access a vast pool of myths, images and false notions that fester even underneath the surface of societies where Jews and Judaism feel most at home. The horrific shootings at the Tree of Life Congreg…


Pittsburgh Response from Les Wexner and Us

Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 by Jay Moses

For Further Reading We have read many incredible articles of strength and remembrance of those close to the victims. Here are a few from fellow Wexner community members. We encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments below. On Shabbat morning, Wexner Heritage Alum Cheryl Moore (Pittsburgh 07) heard the sirens in her neighborhood and immediately thought of who might be at shul.  Wexner Heritage Alum Lou Weiss (Pittsburgh) compares the Tree of Life Synagogue murderer to Amalek, t…


Turning Tragedy into a Challenge for Leadership

Posted on Monday, October 29, 2018 by Rachel Firestone

As our Pittsburgh Jewish community begins to process the horrific tragedy last Shabbat, I have been reflecting on my short experience as a Wexner fellow and am overwhelmed with gratitude for being part of the Pittsburgh 18 cohort. How does a community respond to tragedy? Jewish communities from around the world will be looking to us, to how we react, how we move forward as Jews and as people. On the mountain top in Aspen, we connected with G-d and with each other, creating a foundation for our …


On Getting a Call Asking to be Forgiven

Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2018 by Rayzel Raphael

When I was 15 years old, almost 50 years ago, I had a very exciting boyfriend who would drive from out of town on the spur of the moment to Knoxville, surprising me and bringing me flowers. So I was very psyched when I got invited to a dance in his town and begged my parents to let me go. They wanted me to have a social life so they relented. My mother had explained the facts of life to me, yet she had not explained the facts of life of teenage drunk boys.   It was a full weekend of …


A New Year and a New Opportunity to Consider Our Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Posted on Thursday, October 04, 2018 by Rachel Kest

Just Set it and Forget it   Remember the days before DVR or streaming, when you used to actually watch infomercials that were on late at night or Sunday morning because there was nothing else to watch? Who doesn’t remember the king of the infomercial Ron Popeil and his rotisserie chicken machine? He had this mantra that both he and his studio audience repeated over and over and over — just set it and forget it — showcasing just how easy it is to make a rotisser…


A Letter From Alum Lisa Messinger, Wife of Rabbi Aaron Panken, z"l

Posted on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 by Lisa Messinger

It’s difficult to capture the paralysis of loss, and I won’t try to do so here. I know anyone reading this letter has faced a painful hurdle, and each of us has somehow found a modicum of strength to face the next day, no matter how unimaginable that task may feel.     The surprise for me, in these early months, has not been the bottomless sadness, but the accompanying sense of urgency — to heed Aaron’s voice in my head and not falter from the work he be…


How Keeping Promises Saved Jews in Albania

Posted on Tuesday, July 03, 2018 by Daniel Shure

During my tenure as President of the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce, Chicago (AICC), I was approached by the Chairman of the main Albanian community organization in Chicago asking if I knew the story of Albania and its Jews. I did not know where this was leading but having long had a fascination with the Balkans I was receptive to hearing him out.   My new Albanian friend wanted me to know that ethnic Albanians, who include many from Kosovo as well as a third of Macedonians, have an a…


Pitching at the JBC!

Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2018 by Julie Potiker

Every year, over 200 Jewish authors have the opportunity to present their new book to an audience of book fair professionals and lay leadership from the 110 Jewish book festivals in the United States. The venue is HUC-JIR in Manhattan, in the sanctuary, which lends a holy spirit to the wholly nerve wracking experience!   As a board member of the Jewish Book Council, and as a chair of the San Diego Jewish Book Fair for many years, I never “stood in the shoes” of the authors giv…


Learning to Take That Breath While Letting Your Kids Be Themselves

Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2018 by Stephanie Silverman

Last night our middle son graduated from our temple’s high school program. It was a lovely service, complete with a video montage of the kids from consecration to graduation.   Later that night I said to my husband, “Remember when Ethan told us he was “done” after his Bar Mitzvah?”   “Wow – I forgot about that.”   It’s true. Ethan “declared” that upon becoming a Bar Mitzvah, he was officially DONE with his Je…


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