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My Jew-rnery: A Search for Meaning

Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 by Sally Mundell

How did I get here? We all have our stories, and mine began with the loss of my husband six years ago. I’ll never forget walking my 2- and 5-year old daughters down a long corridor to say good-bye to their father. In tragedy, we’re faced with two choices:   1) lose hope in something bigger and better because you can’t imagine a God who would do this to you  2) dig deep and look for the meaning in your tragedy.   I knew that my two little girls wouldn’t …

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Bridging the Gap: When the 'Bluest of the Blue' Met the 'Reddest of the Red'

Posted on Monday, February 04, 2019 by Shuli Passow

In the spring of 2018, B’nai Jeshurun (BJ,) a congregation in New York with a long history of political involvement and social activism, undertook a unique experiment. At a time of growing political polarization, we wanted to explore what role we could play as a religious community in building bridges across divides, and what wisdom Judaism had to offer us in this process.  What would happen, we wondered, if the ‘bluest of the blue,’ urban, upper-middle class, liberal Jew…

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Tiny Sparks of Light – Yidden Haltsach!

Posted on Thursday, January 10, 2019 by Gidon Rubinstein

“There will be no triumph of light over darkness, as long as we do not recognize the simple truth, that instead of fighting darkness, we should increase the light.” A.D Gordon. My grandfather Shmuel Mordechai Rubinstein, (but for me, he is dear Saba Shmuel,) after surviving the horrors of the Holocaust and making Aliyah, was approached one day by a stranger. The stranger said that Shmuel was responsible for saving his life while they were in Auschwitz. To my grandfather’s bewi…

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Staying Positive, Motivated and Authentic after a Campaign

Posted on Thursday, January 10, 2019 by Lindy Miller

July 28, 2017 was a very big day for our family. It was the day I quit my job of 13 years and stepped away from a company I co-founded. Three days later I did something I had always dreamed of: I filed papers with the Georgia Ethics Commission to run for office. I entered politics as a first-time candidate because I was concerned about the future of our country. We had become so divided. A failure of leadership at the top perpetuated a belief that our politics is beyond repair, that it is point…

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Optimism, Leadership and the Order of the Teaspoon

Posted on Monday, January 07, 2019 by Or Mars

A poll published in July in The New York Times found that close to 40% of young adults surveyed said they are choosing not have children (or to have fewer) due to their fears about global instability. What a statistic of despair! Getting our daily overdose of grim news can cause one to wonder if bringing more human beings into the world – especially those that we will love and care about – might be a bad idea. Is it better to spare our un-conceived from a future fraught with stress a…

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Passover, Pancreatic Cancer and Finding Miracles

Posted on Sunday, January 06, 2019 by Paula Mack Drill

I wrote in my journal on December 31st with a grand flourish: “Good-bye 2018. Hello 2019.”  For good measure, I added, “And good riddance to 2018!” Before I put the journal away, on a sudden impulse, I flipped back to the first entry, March 19, 2018. I had just returned from a three-month sabbatical and wrote with excitement about plans to bring all I had just learned to my work as a synagogue rabbi. And I was already complaining in a good-natured way about preparati…

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Jewish Optimism - Overpowering Despair in 2019

Posted on Friday, January 04, 2019 by Erica Brown

During these past weeks, as we ripped the calendar pages to 2019 and ordered new planners, I heard a disturbing and unsettling refrain, “Let’s hope 2019 is way better than 2018.” Even comedian Dave Barry began his annual “Year in Review” article with the same sentiment: “Is there anything good we can say about 2018? Only this: It got us out of 2017. But even that didn’t work out as we hoped.” He then catalogues the bad news: “What made this …

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Bridging the Divide Between Continents...over Brunch

Posted on Monday, December 17, 2018 by Goni Duchin

Recently three friends of mine – Ruth Kaplan, Elana Markovitz and Lorri Owades –came over for brunch. We crowded in my tiny kitchen and enjoyed shakshuka, pitas with za'atar and Israeli salad. We chatted about life, our families, and kids – all the usual stuff. After a while, as always with them, we turned to discussing the best ways to connect the American Jewish community and Israelis, how to get the two communities to know and enjoy each other as friends, person to person. …

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Commemorating 70 Years of Human Rights

Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2018 by Jill Jacobs

Last Thursday, I had the honor of speaking on a panel with former President Jimmy Carter and Imam Omar Suleiman (Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research) about faith and human rights, in commemoration of International Human Rights Day and the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR.) It was especially powerful to sit next to the man who had just become the oldest former president (and who had flown to and from President Bush's funeral earlier that day.)  Much of t…

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After a Tragedy: Practical Solutions and Healing

Posted on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 by Drew Goldstein and Daniel Berkowitz

Seventy-two hours after the largest mass murder of Jews in American history, politics had divided our Squirrel Hill community. For the two of us, it culminated with the-anything-but-normal Tuesday night after 11 of our friends and neighbors were brutally killed praying inside their synagogue. In a feeble attempt to listen to the trauma experts’ advice to go back to “normal,” we scheduled a business meeting. However, amidst the backdrop of a controversial Presidential visit to P…

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