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Morning Lecture with Rabbi Elyse Goldstein

Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2018 by Eta Blitzer

The Montreal Alumni of the Wexner Heritage Program were fortunate to participate in an early morning lecture by Rabbi Elyse Goldstein at the home of Julie Shugarman and Ilan Gewurz. Rabbi Goldstein is teaching the current Montreal Group sacred texts.   Rabbi Goldstein’s lecture was titled “Women are From Genesis, Men are from Leviticus: Seeing Torah through a #MeToo Lens.” Rabbi Goldstein rejected the idea that the Torah can be read through a neutral lens; each reader br…

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Carrying the Mitzvah to Be Responsible for One Another, Literally, to the Ends of the Earth

Posted on Thursday, August 30, 2018 by Katie Berger and Leah Jones

"Kol Israel arevim ze bazeh" (All Israel is responsible for one another).    In an effort to re-home a Torah from a recently shuttered synagogue in Iowa to a new minyan in Paraguay, we used our networks to get the Torah scroll part of the way (Katie especially due to her childhood connections in Kansas City). A congregation in Ottumwa, Iowa, B'nai Jacob, was looking for egalitarian communities in need of Torah scrolls and found one seeking in Asuncion, Paraguay. In less than an …

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Broken Heart Syndrome

Posted on Thursday, February 15, 2018 by Dennis Goodman

In the spirit of the Valentine's Day, I wanted to share a story from my clinical practice as a cardiologist.  I have changed the names and places for obvious reasons. I recently read an article by Stacey Goldman called Spirit of the Laws.  I was inspired by her conclusion: “Is it possible to view every encounter with another Jew as an opportunity to strengthen our unity as a people and our closeness with G-d?  This is the challenge: to see beyond the outer shell and into t…

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We All Helped Build The Wall Of Silence Around Victims Of Sexual Assault

Posted on Thursday, January 04, 2018 by Guila Benchimol

Reposted with thanks to huffingtonpost.ca   Gretchen Carlson, whose sexual harassment claims led to Roger Ailes's downfall, recently stated that "the culture of concealment and denial is coming to an end" and the Silence Breakers were just named Time Magazine's Person of the Year. But a culture of silence does not simply end when its victims are ready to speak up.  For victims to be heard, we must understand what role we play in building the silence around them.  …

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Poland is Complicated

Posted on Monday, December 18, 2017 by Richard Kasper

Poland is complicated.  Since returning from a week in and around Warsaw and Krakow last summer, I’ve found that I can’t describe the trip without first establishing this basic fact.   A few months ago, I was among eight Jewish leaders from Phoenix, Los Angeles and Seattle who travelled to Poland together as guests of the Polish Consul General.  If not for this invitation, I doubt I ever would have visited Poland.  Like many Jews of my generation, I’ve vie…

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Thoughts Pre-Hanukkah

Posted on Friday, December 01, 2017 by Shira Koch Epstein

Kislev.  Last shabbat and this shabbat -- the two that come in the earliest in the year --just after 4 pm. Literally, the darkest time of year.   The Torah begins with the creation of light, but the sun and moon were not created until the fourth day.   Our sages explain this discrepancy by suggesting that the light that was created with the first utterance was not the light of the sun, but rather a bright light of goodness, which gave insight and vision to the first humans …

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5 Miracles I Saw at Camp Newman Last Week

Posted on Thursday, October 19, 2017 by Ruben Arquilevich

I have had endless words and feelings and thoughts going through me this past week.  None is more meaningful than the expressions from tens of thousands of you, from young children to older adults – sharing poetry and songs, prayers, stories and support from all over the globe.  They reflect several universal themes: deep loss and sadness, gratitude for what camp has done for their lives, perseverance and endurance.  The stories remind me that our camp years represent some o…

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Creating a Mural as a Manifestation of Gratitude and Teamwork

Posted on Wednesday, October 04, 2017 by Rachel Scherzer

On behalf of my WHP Greater MetroWest 15 cohort, I write this as a letter of thanks for this wonderful journey, the Wexner Heritage Program.  From Aspen, where it all began just over two years ago, through multiple learning sessions in New Jersey and fantastic Institutes in Israel and Utah, in this New Year we continue our Jewish leadership journeys, richer for the knowledge and wisdom you have imparted.   To show our appreciation, we wanted to share some photos of a mural that was …

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Under Your Own Vine and Fig Tree

Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2017 by David Segal

When it comes to messianic visions, I prefer a smaller scale. Being raptured into the blinding glow of God's heavenly presence sounds uncomfortable and, frankly, unsustainable. What happens the morning after the rapture? Brunch?   The biblical prophets gave us a grand image of a glorious day when all the kingdoms of the earth will gather to march up Jerusalem's holy mount, praising God together. Roll the credits, right? But I'm more interested in what happens after the epic mountaintop pr…

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The Jewish People in 2017: Fault Lines, Threats, and Opportunities

Posted on Wednesday, August 09, 2017 by Shalom Lipner

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” The all-too-familiar opening of Charles Dickens' nineteenth-century classic A Tale of Two Cities could not have better encapsulated the current state of the Jewish world. As the international community is rocked by political and economic turbulence, the Jewish People—an international people if ever there was one—has not been immune to the impact of global events, often finding itself at their epicenter.   Just…

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