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“Anne Frank Today Is A Syrian Girl” was the headline on an Aug. 25 Nicholas Kristof column in The New York Times this year. He wrote about letters found in 2005 by a volunteer sorting WWII refugee files in New York City. The files looked like so many others until she saw the names of the children.
I have a beautiful poster hanging in my office emblazoned with the words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. It reads, “A Jew is asked to take a leap of action, rather than a leap of faith.” The bold, prophetic voice in Judaism, surely echoed by Heschel, constantly reminds us that Jewish prayers and rituals, along with their spiritual nourishment, serve a greater purpose: they command Jews to act.
For generations upon generations, rabbis have served as leaders in their communities. Rabbis have provided Halachic interpretations of Jewish law, information about Israel, local Hebrew/Sunday/day schools, synagogues, Judaica bookstores, and often a welcoming home to visitors for Shabbat and holidays.
Prominent journalist Lucy Aharish was invited by the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix in partnership with the Israeli American Council to share her unique story growing up in the embattled Middle East as an Arab, Muslim and Israeli woman. She spoke in front of about 100 attendees on Sept. 20 at the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — I support Hillary Clinton for president because I have seen her work up close – as first lady, senator from New York and secretary of state. She has the temperament, experience and judgment to be commander-in-chief and our country’s representative to the world. And I know she has a deep commitment to the State of Israel and a special sensitivity to help Holocaust survivors.
NEW YORK — As my family and I prepare for Rosh Hashanah, we look back with grateful hearts for the brachot, blessings, in our lives. We take time to reflect on the joys and the challenges, the ups and downs, that we experienced during the previous year. To me, a meaningful observance of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur requires taking stock of life’s hard-earned victories and heartfelt woes, its wondrous gifts and unceremonious misfortunes, its underappreciated blessings and unfulfilled potential.
I’m not sure where to begin. I first want to say that my synagogue – and I think synagogues in general – have done a really great job of welcoming congregants who have converted, are intermarried and are in gay and lesbian marriages. My synagogue also welcomes adopted children and Jews of color. It is still mainly an Ashkenazi population, but it quickly is becoming more diverse. The rabbi, cantor and board of trustees have worked hard and continue to work to make the synagogue inclusive.
Thank you: two simple words with tremendous meaning. Thank you for being part of our community. Thank you for raising your children with us. Thank you for being with us.
The month of Elul will be nearly half over by the time you read this. It’s the month when Jews take stock of the year just passed, in preparation for the Days of Awe (Yamim Noraim) or High Holidays. This is a spiritual task, an “accounting of the soul” (cheshbon hanefesh).
I’m working on my last newspaper deadline. I won’t be in the office Monday morning to face the one step forward, two steps back dance while time barrels like a runaway train toward the Tuesday afternoon deadline. I’ll be retired.