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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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The point of remembering the Holocaust is not to say that it was an utterly distinctive event in human history. Every historical event is distinctive in some ways, but systematic genocide of a people has, sadly, been found at many times and places in human history.

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A 2017 UNICEF report revealed that Israel has the third-highest children’s poverty rate in the developed world, behind Mexico and Chile. One-third of Israeli children reside in poverty. The government has failed to aggressively aid impoverished Israeli citizens. According to a 2016 report, t…

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On grocery store checkout lines around the country this month, amid the candy bars and zany tabloids, shoppers will find a glossy 96-page magazine called “Anne Frank: Her Life and Legacy.” The publication, compiled by the staff of Life magazine, is filled with photographs of Anne and her fam…

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Only in Israel can you be gay, a government minister and — most revolutionary of all — right-wing. This new, good kind of “intersectionality” is a strong indication that we are not merely “the only democracy in the Middle East,” but one of the most advanced democracies in the world.

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So now it’s come to this. Proving yet again that despite the unlimited creativity of human ingenuity and the equally unlimited potential of the human spirit, we are unfortunately powerless to stop the destructive power of nature and human ignorance, we have managed to rewind the clock to the…

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So now it’s come to this. Proving yet again that despite the unlimited creativity of human ingenuity and the equally unlimited potential of the human spirit, we are unfortunately powerless to stop the destructive power of nature and human ignorance, we have managed to rewind the clock to the…

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Among key issues that have collapsed the 21st Knesset before its ministers have even been sworn into their positions is the enlistment, or lack of, haredim serving in the military. As part of legacy agreements established and signed at the creation of modern-day Israel between leading rabbis…

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Abortion again. The never-ending legal struggle goes on. Unfortunately, it is a struggle that tends to suppress the possibility of reasoned moral conversations. Consumed with the issue of rights (on both sides), there is little patience for more nuanced ethical concerns.

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My late mother, Shirley Friedberg Neustein, was a childhood friend of Herman Wouk. In the 1920s and ’30s Wouk attended the boys division of a Zionist camp (Keeyuma/Carmelia), which was picturesquely situated on Lake Champlain in Milton, Vermont. They kept up until my mother died in 2001. 

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As part of my executive MBA curriculum, I had the option to travel to one of three international sites — Israel, Brazil, or Colombia — for a weeklong, global business immersion. Wanting to venture where I had never been, I chose Israel. It turned out to be one of the most important and inspi…

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It is a sunny Friday morning and I am visiting Al-Tuwani, a small Palestinian village in the West Bank. Around us some children are playing, others are moving sheep and goats to graze, and women are hanging laundry to dry. If you knew nothing about the conflict occurring here you would descr…

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According to the World Health Organization, suicide remains among the leading causes of death for teens. When I became a teacher, I never envisioned the emails to attend funerals for former students. I received one recently regarding a young man who was enrolled in my eighth-grade class just…

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I ran into an old friend about three weeks after the Tree of Life massacre, a former Pittsburgher, who wanted to talk about the events of Oct. 27, when a white supremacist gunman murdered 11 Jewish congregants during Shabbat services. In particular, she wanted to know about one of the surviv…

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In the face of another murderous attack on a U.S. synagogue, Jewish Americans are again reeling. Six months after the slaughter of Shabbat worshipers in a peaceful community in Pittsburgh, our community was struck again. We are now mourning Lori Gilbert-Kaye, who was shot dead in her synagog…

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There are no words for the experience of commemorating the horrific death, together with Holocaust survivors, on the sacred grounds of the Birkenau extermination camp, where more than 1 million Jews were sent to the gas chambers and crematoriums just 75 years ago.

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In coming out forcefully at a rally against the kind of anti-Semitism that appears to have motivated last Saturday’s deadly attack at Chabad of Poway outside San Diego, President Donald Trump did the right thing. And the president further demonstrated sensitivity in the aftermath by speaking…

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At Passover, Jews mark the beginning of the journey. On Friday, the seventh day of the holiday, we read Shirat Hayam and reenact the crossing of the Reed Sea. This iconic moment, after the Exodus from Egypt with Pharaoh’s forces on one side and the raging sea on the other, is the moment of t…

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a decisive electoral victory at the polls despite tying with main rival Benny Gantz.While both the ruling Likud Party and challenging Blue and White Party are each scheduled to receive 35 mandates in the 21st Knesset, the results are not nearly a…

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Despite pending corruption indictments and a formidable opposition party of three former chiefs of staff, Benjamin Netanyahu won reelection for the fourth time in a row and is likely to become the longest serving Prime Minister of Israel. He demonstrated again magical capabilities in politic…

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In recent years, the national conversation regarding identity and rights has brought a number of old myths about transgender individuals back to the forefront. From bathrooms to the military to high school proms, these myths continue to haunt the discussion, turning those who don’t fit a pro…

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Mid-March was filled with a great deal of excitement and energy for Jewish day school educators, and I’m not simply talking about the festivities associated with Purim. Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools held its biannual conference in Atlanta, and I attended with my Jewish Education Inn…

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