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Wednesday 01/17/2018
Promoting a culture of Jewish learning
Posted: January 17, 2018

As many people in the Greater Phoenix Jewish community know, Valley Beit Midrash is committed to fostering a pluralistic intellectual culture of Jewish learning with our every endeavor. Whether it is through our regular learning series, spiritual retreats, or young professional and young family programming (such as the Start Me Up! and YATOM Family Fellowships), every aspect of our organization is dedicated to celebrating the many ideas and visions for a rounded contemporary Jewish life.

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Wednesday 01/10/2018
Speaking out against hate
Posted: January 10, 2018

Last week, news broke on TMZ.com that four flight attendants were suing Delta Airlines for “a pattern of intentionally discriminating and retaliating against ethnically Jewish, Hebrew and/or Israeli employees and passengers.” The story was quickly picked up by other media outlets, and while the merits of the case will be decided in court, the online response to the suit was disturbing.

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Wednesday 01/03/2018
Equality and inclusion for people with disabilities in Israel
Posted: January 03, 2018

There are many amazing organizations directly serving people with disabilities in Israel. But there is one tiny but mighty nonprofit that is key to winning the battle to enable people with disabilities to participate as fully and independently as possible in regular community life.

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Jewish life hacks for the New Year
Posted: January 03, 2018

Life hacks describe a super-cool shortcut to achieve a desired end. As in exercise hack — take the stairs, park farther away in the parking lot. As in love hacks — rejoice in your partner’s successes, touch them affectionately, a lot. Here’s a great life hack I picked up: Do you have a collection of plastic grocery bags? Is the collection out of control? Not sure where I picked up this hack, but how about using an empty tissue box as a dispenser for those bags? Pretty cool, eh?

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Wednesday 12/27/2017
Exploring the place of my family’s history
Posted: December 27, 2017

I was the child who walked into my fifth-grade family history project with a family tree rolled into a scroll that I had to rubber-band shut. It had everyone in my family on it — from my great aunt who came to the United States from Lithuania, to my cousin who was born in California, to my great-grandfather who was born in Ukraine. As I began to unravel the scroll and learn about the history of my ancestors, I was fascinated by just how many of my family members came from the former Soviet Union. Upon learning, earlier this year, that 2017 was the 30th anniversary year of the March on Washington for Soviet Jewry, I decided it was my responsibility to explore the place where my family had such a rich history.

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Wednesday 12/20/2017
On contact with Orthodoxy
Posted: December 20, 2017

I write this sitting in a hotel room in Philadelphia, here to attend the annual world conference of the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies. That is an organization dedicated to studying and following the history and fate of Jews forced by the Spanish Inquisition to, at least publicly, pretended to give up their faith and convert to Catholicism. My wife and I have been very involved in the study of their lives.

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Wednesday 12/13/2017
Better, but we still have a long way to go
Posted: December 13, 2017

Once again, I want to remind readers that all Arizona taxpayers have the ability to dictate how our state spends the hard-earned tax dollars that we have paid or are required to pay. It is indeed rare that taxpayers have control over where and how our state actually spends the taxes we pay, so please take advantage of this opportunity!

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Wednesday 12/06/2017
The transcendental power and value of immersive spiritual retreat
Posted: December 06, 2017

Part of the modern condition is the constant lurch toward burnout. The grinding hours at work are long and stressful. Deadlines for important work projects never seem to stop piling up. Commitments to family and for networking events and the demands to have an active life on the social scene places so much pressure that people are forced to spend nights away from significant others or, indeed, one’s sense of inner tranquility.

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