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Dear parents: There is no question that our child-rearing years can often seem to be the ultimate roller coaster ride. Just as we find ourselves reaching a potential breakthrough, in which our children seem to display the maturity/kindness/responsibility/etc. for which we had labored mightil…

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In Parshat Bo, we learn that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. This is perhaps the greatest problem in the Exodus story and still the worst of moral conundrums today. It is the root of the great societal ill that causes a breakdown in social trust and empathy. Sadly, it is becoming even more per…

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In this week’s parsha, the daughter of Pharoah goes down to bathe in the Nile while her maidens walk along the river. She spies a basket among the reeds and sends her slave girl to fetch it. The next verse tells us: “Vatiftach, vitirayhu et hayeled vihiney naar bocheh,” “she opened the baske…

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As the end of his life drew near, Jacob assembled his 12 sons to share his final thoughts with them. Although the Torah refers to these comments as blessings, they are mostly varying degrees of harsh criticism. Two brothers that were recipients of perhaps the most severe comments were Simon …

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As I write this, I am, again, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, at the Fifth Forum for Promoting Global Peace. I am continuing to build bridges with Muslim, Christian and Jewish faith leaders from Phoenix, the United States, and religious leaders and scholars from around the world (but tha…

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Chanukah is unlike all the other holidays we celebrate. Usually, festivities center around a meal, a kiddush, Hamotzi and festive foods fulfilling our physical needs. 

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When I was a young boy, I used to watch a television show called “Branded.” At the beginning of each episode, we would witness a scene in which the main character, a soldier played by Chuck Connor, was drummed out of the Army. His hat was pulled off, his epaulets and buttons were torn from h…

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 “And he took from what he had with him a present to Esav his brother … and Esav ran toward him and embraced him … and kissed him …” (Bereshit 32:14; 33:4)

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Over the last two years, an evangelical pastor, an imam and this rabbi have worked intentionally to create bonds of friendship through shared experiences in our community. This is not a joke. And it is not “interfaith dialogue.” It is “multifaith dialogue.” Multifaith dialogue differs from i…

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As the Jewish community is still in shock from the largest massacre of Jews in American history, we turn as always to our timely and timeless Torah for guidance and direction on how to live our lives.

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Over several months, I visited a woman who had terminal cancer. She was confined to a single room and a bed. She was regularly provided with medication to manage pain. The scope of her life experiences, which had been filled with family, friends, international travel, fine food and fashion, …

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What is the essence of Jewish service? A famous midrash (found in the introduction to the aggadic compilation Ein Yaakov) asks: “What is the most important verse in all of the Torah?” Ben Zoma said, “We found a verse which is all inclusive: ‘Shema Yisrael, Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Ekhad.’ ” (…

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"To whom shall I turn when the clouds of the present eclipse the rays of tomorrow?... I enter the sanctuary, again, to await the echo of your promise. — Rabbi Harold from “When I Cry”

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In the Friday night Kiddush we recite at the Shabbat table every week, there is a phrase that is puzzling at best, nonsensical at worst: “Blessed are You … Who has sanctified us ... gave us His holy Sabbath … a remembrance of creation.” So far, so good. Observance of the Sabbath is a reenact…

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