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As leaders from more than 40 countries gathered in Jerusalem this week for the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, it is worth reviewing the changes to Israel’s role in the fight against global anti-Semitism over the past half century. It…

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I was a 30-year-old part-time proofreader without a journalism degree when I was offered my first job as an editor at a weekly newspaper. It was 1998, and our paper was one of the largest alternative newsweeklies in the U.S.  

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These last weeks of continuous attacks on Jewish communities left me feeling somber, overwrought, scared. But not surprised. In many ways, this seems like the inevitable continuation of a wave we have been riding for the past years. Nationalist and anti-Jewish rhetoric, whether blatant or im…

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I reserved the siyum tickets on day 2,637. The 13th worldwide siyum, or completion, of the 2,711 pages of the Babylonian Talmud, the oral commentary on the written Torah, was scheduled on Jan. 1, 2020, at Metlife Stadium in New Jersey, and my husband was studiously poised to complete his fir…

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On Sunday, Jan. 5, a huge crowd responded to the call from UJA-Federation of New York to march against anti-Semitism. The sense of threat is so pervasive at this moment that Jewish Federations and other organizations bused thousands from other states and locales to march in solidarity with t…

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My husband and I have been watching them for several years, a small but growing Chasidic community living in one of the grittier parts of Jersey City, New Jersey. On the rare occasions when I pass Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in my car, I see young mothers pushing their strollers.

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We recently visited Israel, accompanying four members of Congress — Jan Schakowsky (Illinois), Peter Welch (Vermont), Andy Levin (Michigan) and Deborah Halland (New Mexico) — and 11 J Street leaders. Our goal was to see and hear a wide range of views on the political relationships between Is…

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Not long ago, if one were to have denied chicken-matzah-ball soup, meat-based cholents or kibbeh their due place on the Jewish table — not to mention Passover’s boiled eggs — they might have been dismissed for having no respect for Jewish cuisine or culture. This has changed in recent decade…

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My grandmother, Nonna Anny, was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1924. When Austria was annexed by Germany and Kristallnacht occurred in 1938, she was 14 years old. Nonna Anny was the second-oldest of five siblings. They did not have the means to escape Austria and​ needed a financial sponsor to …

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Next week, Jews across the world will celebrate one of the most improbable triumphs against anti-Semitism in our history. The miraculous victory of the Maccabees illustrates that, when Jews stand together, there is no threat too great for us to overcome.

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The end of December is fast approaching, and with it comes the thrill of a new year starting. For some people this brings concerns for what may be: an increase in hate incidents and/or crimes and in hate speech both online and on the streets.  

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When the Jewish world cycles back to our founding generations, we find in the Torah behavior by the patriarchs that is awkward as well as disturbing. Three times the Torah presents a story about a husband and wife traveling as strangers through an alien culture. Each story involves the husba…

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In overt and in subtle ways, so many of our Jewish institutions and communities have let dominant narratives dictate who is a Jew. Too often, Jews of color enter Jewish space that has been shaped by assumptions of whiteness that transform safe, communal and warm spaces into places fraught wi…

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The Department of State under President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has corrected U.S. Middle East policy in an important way.

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Poland’s government won an important victory on the battleground of history last week. It succeeded in persuading the entertainment-streaming service Netflix to amend a newly released World War II-based documentary that implied, through one of its maps, that the six extermination centers bui…

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When the House of Representatives voted to sanction Turkey for its recent military operation in Syria, the bill targeting the country’s leaders, financial institutions and its military’s access to financing and arms passed by a veto-proof and bipartisan majority of 403-16.

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What’s behind last week’s European Court of Justice ruling that Israeli goods produced in settlements on the West Bank must be labeled that they are from occupied territory and not from Israel itself? We ask this question because the ruling reflects a disconcerting bias against Israel and gi…

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The depth of the Tree of Life tragedy hit home immediately. I knew within minutes that morning I would know some of the victims, having been to the synagogue for events for over 20 years and knowing friends who belonged to three congregations. I spent that week with as many of the victims’ f…

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I have been the rabbi of the New Light Congregation in Pittsburgh for nine years. This year, at Kol Nidre services on Yom Kippur, I preached about calm.

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Bernie Madoff is certainly the most infamous of the residents at North Carolina’s Butner Federal Correctional Facility, but, scanning the congregation at the outset of the Kol Nidre service, we realized that he likely wouldn’t be making it to minyan this year. This elicits an audible sigh of…

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Like many members of the Jewish community in Arizona and around the world, to observe the High Holidays meant walking by police officers at the entrance of synagogues and temples. That is a reality and necessity facing Jews locally and globally.

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I always believed I could do anything. I was an outspoken social activist from five generations of activists. My favorite quote is “Well-behaved women rarely make history,” and I have eight acts of civil disobedience on my record to prove it.

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I grew up in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, but it might as well have been Minsk, Belarus. Every day, after my father left for work in the city, Mom shrugged off her English, as if it were an itchy sweater, and slipped back into Yiddish. Not to speak with me, but to engage in marathon phone conver…

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In 2015, sculptor Jonathan Hertzel, a Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts graduate whose work is in PAFA’s permanent collection, moved with his wife, Linda Guenste, from the Philadelphia suburbs to Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

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On Aug. 28, Greta Thunberg, the teen Swedish climate activist, climbed off her zero-emissions boat with a glint in her eye. She had traveled across the world to deliver a message to the UN General Assembly. Her journey had led her to speak in, arguably, the most consequential hall in the wor…

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Try as some politicians might to make the current Israeli election about rifts between secular and religious Israelis, both the April and September polls were about a single issue: whether or not Benjamin Netanyahu will continue to serve as Israel’s prime minister.

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Recently I visited my daughter, who is working for the year in Rwanda. For most people, if they have heard of Rwanda at all, it is due to the genocide that took place just a quarter century ago. Our visit was focused on my daughter and the country today, not the genocide, but the genocide is…

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The fact that Jewish children were victims of sexual abuse during the Holocaust does not come as a surprise to anyone, simply because during wartime we expect unspeakable crimes to be committed against society’s most defenseless. Yet the problem remains today; Jewish children continue to be …

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Almost two decades into the 21st century, few people — and they’re getting fewer with each passing day — deny that the scourge of anti-Semitism we so triumphantly relegated to the pages of the 20th century has reared its ugly head once more.

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Earlier this year, my wife attended a program on Jewish education. The presenter made a seemingly harmless joke: “A couple stopped having children after their fourth, because they read a study that said that every fifth child born in America is Asian.”

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As an Ashkenazi Jew, I grew up with an inherent nostalgia for an Eastern European diet. It was not that long ago that our grandparents and great-grandparents wrestled with starvation, migration, the Holocaust. And heavy, hearty fare sometimes meant the difference between life and death. We c…

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I travelled to Israel alone this past spring as part of my sabbatical. My goal was to meet with organizations and leaders modeling collaboration between peoples otherwise cast in conflict. I came to experience a different, more hopeful reality between Israeli Jews and Palestinians, one we’re…

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Given that I’m a Republican, you’d think I’d be supportive of the federal government’s decision to reinstate capital punishment.

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As Av approaches, and with it the Nine Days, we are drawn to the Kotel — in our souls, with our bodies or, for some, both. We recall destruction that arose from sinat chinam, baseless hatred, and we wonder, as is exclaimed in the Book of Eicha (Lamentations): “Eicha? How? How did hatred amon…

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As a liberal Manhattan writer and teacher, I applauded the House vote to condemn President Donald Trump’s comments that Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar should “go back” to where they came from.

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It is in the social DNA of most Jewish Americans to support liberal causes. Unlike other American groups, Jewish Americans have remained loyal to the Democratic Party even as their affluence has increased. Operating under the mandate of tikkun olam, Jews have been at the forefront of almost …

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President Trump did what seemed nearly impossible this week, sinking to a new low in demanding that four Democratic congresswomen “go back” to their countries of origin. The president’s racist attacks on sitting members of the House of Representatives were awful enough at first blush. And th…

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To be quite frank, I am not exactly sure where I should start. This year on the Aardvark Gap Year Program has been full of long nights, unforgettable memories and lifelong friendships, all while being in the beautiful Holy Land of Israel. This past year I can definitely tell you that God has…

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During our recent board of governors meeting of the Jewish Agency for Israel, our new executive, Yitzhak Herzog, reminded us of our history that began in 1929 before pre-statehood Palestine. The original purpose of the Jewish Agency was to coordinate the activities of the various organizatio…

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Soft power describes how communities and countries exert influence through persuasion. Soft power is how countries and communities use the attractiveness of their culture, values and institutions as a means to enhance their strength and standing. By contrast, hard power implies compelling ac…

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In the view of some ardent defenders of the separation between religion and state, there was no doubt that a war memorial in the form of a 40-foot-tall cross should not be allowed to stay on state property in Bladensburg, Md. Some Jews saw the presence of the so-called “Peace Cross” on land …

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