This year — in this unusual and uncertain year — unable to gather in community I chose instead to pray outside. The words and songs of the service streamed out of my phone, which sat neatly tucked into my tool belt I had been weeding as I prayed along, enjoying the morning sunshine and the cool fall air. I think it was out somewhere between the rows of fading sunflowers

May 2019

Remembering Oded

Looking westward from Nir-Etzion The scene from kibbutz Nir-Etzion’s resort hotel is magnificently beautiful, overlooking the slopes of Mount Carmel as they descend gently towards the Mediterranean coast. The ambiance is somewhat similar of another guest house that stood at the heart of kibbutz Kfar-Etzion until 1948. It was the pride of the kibbutz established in 1943 at the summit of the Judean ridge, 30 kilometers south of Jerusalem. In

The author is shown here with her brothers. Hello, my name is Sally Mundell and I confess that I am the “simple child” at Passover. At age 41, I have come to the realization that I have spent most of my life not knowing how to ask a question and more sadly, not believing that I deserved to. In preparation for Passover, my brother Stan and I decided to work

A Jew is on the bus in Nazi Germany and sees another Jew reading Der Stuermer. He asks him why he’s reading that. The Jew with the paper answers “Look, I got plenty of troubles at home and at work. The only time I can relax is on the bus. You think I want to read stories like ‘Synagogues Vandalized Again’ or ‘Property of Jews seized?’ Not when I can

Nelson Mandela was asked how, after 27 years of unjust incarceration, he seemed devoid of bitterness. He responded: “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” Mandela’s mindset strikes one as noble, admirable and almost unimaginable. To have the prime of your life quite literally stolen from

It comes with profound gratitude to Rabbi House of Maxwell House Haggadah fame that I offer some commentary on Passover. “Avadim hayenu…we were once slaves in Egypt, but Hashem our God took us out;” now let’s eat. There are many ways to study Pesach, but I would like to explore its themes of freedom. What does it mean to be free and how can we in modern day society actually

©Matt Berkowitz and The Lovell Haggadah With the spring festival of Passover approaching, freedom takes center stage. Yet, in order to celebrate freedom, why do we need to annually recount our experience of enslavement and oppression? Memory is critical to our self-understanding. Our appreciation of freedom was forged through a crucible of persecution and slavery. It is no coincidence that Torah repeatedly warns us, “do not oppress a stranger; for  

What is Hanukkah all about? In the United States, the wondrous nature of the holiday is emphasized. A small amount of oil lasted for eight days, the period of time necessary to properly rededicate the Temple. We light candles together in memory of this miracle, enjoying the way their light helps to illuminate some of our longest and darkest winter nights. This image is beautiful and comforting, but it is

After a tough year filled with tragedy close to home and in the wider world, Wexner Heritage Members Alana Ballon (San Francisco 18) and Tammy Hepps (Pittsburgh 18) were talking about ways to make the holidays fun in middle of such darkness. Tammy mentioned a menorah-making contest she’d heard a day school was doing in Pittsburgh and Alana thought about a poetry seder she’d seen for Passover, and then the

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