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On Feb. 21, Gesher Disability Resources held a Purim shpiel table read of “Queen Esther and the Shushan Schemer.” The event was Gesher’s first national collaboration and was watched live by 150 people. Gesher partnered with the Pink Umbrella Theater Company of Wisconsin and Harry & Rose …

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On Thursday night we begin our celebration of the most irreverent of Jewish observances — Purim. During this holiday, we read the scroll of Esther, exchange gifts of food, mishloach manot, with friends, acquaintances and family and also offer gifts to the poor. Furthermore, it is considered …

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Throughout history, due to governmental or societal pressure, Jewish values and culture were usually at odds with the surrounding environment, and so Jews always had to make one of two choices: defiance or compliance.

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Mishpatim (Rules), is a miscellaneous collection of laws relating to slavery, homicide, theft, agriculture and many other matters. As interesting as these specific regulations are, they have none of the energy and drama of the Ten Commandments, which we read last week. But the Torah understa…

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The Children of Israel marched out of Egypt among a myriad of miracles. They were finally free after many years of bitter slavery. But that is hardly the end of the story. Freedom is, by itself, not a goal. It merely allows one the opportunity to define and strive towards a goal. For our mis…

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Transitions of any kind are difficult, and we must consider the best way to make it through them while still being true to who we are.

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In the cycle of stories presented in this week’s parshah, Moses and Aaron engage in a series of confrontations with a Pharaoh to secure the freedom of the Israelites from bondage. In their corner is God, who uses the opportunity to demonstrate God’s great power and spread God’s fame in the world.

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The gabai at the synagogue approached Mr. Goldfein to give him the honor of an aliyah at the Torah.

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Jacob is going to die. He puts his affairs in order, conveys his wishes and breathes his last. The Age of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs is over.

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This week’s parshah gives us a glimpse into the passion and strength that flows through our nation.

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In the cycle of the yearly Torah reading, we are in the midst of the Joseph narrative which tells the amazing story of Jacob’s favorite son, Joseph. In last week’s parshah, Joseph was imprisoned on false charges by Potiphar’s wife. 

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As parents, one of the most important things we could ever do is raise our children to be well-rounded, mature and productive members (even leaders) of society.

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North American Ashkenazi Jews may associate Chanukah celebrations with potato latkes and sufganiyot, but there’s nothing in the Maccabees story that says these are our only options. 

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I have so many memories of standing around the kitchen frying up latkes as a kid with my mom and grandma. The smell of latkes filled our house for days, and while she never glanced at the recipe card, my grandma’s latkes were consistently delicious every year. 

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The candles. The oil. The darkness. The Light. For the Jewish people, the symbols of Chanukah remind us that when times seem the bleakest, there is always an escape.

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Continents have been ravaged by tyrants. Countries have been decimated by despots. People have been led like sheep to slaughter. They have been tortured, maimed, executed and controlled in a cruel, phlegmatic manner — all so that someone could garner power.

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This week’s parshah tells the story of Yitzhak approaching the end of his life. He summons his older son Esav “so that my soul can bless you before I die.”

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There is no institution which is more significant for the preservation of civilization than the family. The well-being of society and the ideal of human progress is dependent on a firm and stable family unit. Judaism revolves around the sanctity of the family as it is absolutely vital to the…

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In the year 1054, there was a huge supernova explosion, an explosion that eventually became the crab nebula. Astronomers in places as far flung as China, Japan, Arabia and even the Americas recorded the event. Yet strangely, there is no record of this gigantic event anywhere in Europe. How c…

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Once a renowned cardiologist visited the Chabad Rebbe. “You should devote your attention to treating healthy people, not only the sick,” the Rebbe told him.

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How many of us have experienced times when things we created or desired were upended or destroyed through calamity or nefarious forces? Think for a moment how that felt. Then imagine the Creator’s experience knowing that the “good” world (yetzer ha tov) introduced in B’reishit was corrupted …

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It seems like an opening replete with sin.

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The holidays of Tishrei are there to set in motion the events of the next year. Rosh Hashanah is the grand entrance of greatest joy, Yom Kippur is the solemn day of repentance where we ask for forgiveness for our transgressions, Sukkot gives us the space to reflect on the struggles of our an…

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There is no doubt that of all the holidays on the Jewish calendar, Sukkot is the one most associated with happiness. There are so many joyous actions that are affiliated with the holiday — from building and living in the sukkah to shaking the four species — it is of little surprise that this…

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A major facet of the Jewish holidays is the element of rejoicing. At first glance, we do not associate religious observance with “having a good time.” We differentiate between the realm of religion and that of personal gratification.

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People ask me how they can spruce up their homes easily and comfortably to give them a feeling of both emotional and physical support during this time of change. Change is key in so much these days and design is no different. 

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Though the book hasn’t been sealed yet, it’s not hard to write that this past year — 5780 in the Hebrew calendar — has been one of the hardest for so many of us. The year included a significant rise in anti-Semitism, an increase in bigotry in the public sphere, violence in the streets and no…

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Welcoming questions is normative within the Jewish tradition. We thrive in an environment that supports inquiry and interpretation. However, welcoming people of all shapes, sizes, orientations, may meet with some reservations. While Judaism wrestles with who is a Jew, Jews and non-Jews are f…

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Rosh Hashanah brings a freshness and delight as we enter into the new year and the season of autumn. Our menus have transitioned from light salads, summer corn and tomatoes and grilling everything possible to baked goods spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, heartier stews and lots of winter squa…

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The smell of brisket cooking in the oven brings me such fond memories of holiday meals in my childhood home here in Arizona. We almost always seemed to have leftovers, but reheated brisket doesn’t taste quite as good as the first night, so it got me thinking about ways we could turn the bris…

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Two men walk a dusty path. One is just setting out on the great adventure of life. The other has more road behind him than ahead.

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It’s that time of year: Rosh Hashanah is just around the corner, and synagogues are adapting to unusual times. Some are streaming services and keeping activities entirely online; others are holding small, socially distanced services in person; a few are offering a mix of online, indoor and o…

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This year has been like no other. COVID-19 has changed the way we work and play, who we see and how we see them. At Passover, it brought us Zoom seders. Likewise, High Holiday services will be held on Zoom, too.

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Several years ago, I realized hosting lunch on Rosh Hashanah had become routine, something that bothered me.

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Rosh Hashanah is the holiday we wish each other happiness, health and peace, and I wish you, “Happy home!” to help you have a healthy and peaceful home.

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Be it blasting shofars in parking lots or handing out goody bags filled with prayer and activity books and specialized mints to passing cars, the Jewish community in Greater Phoenix is getting creative in order to maintain a sense of community and continuity during High Holidays challenged b…

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“You are standing today, all of you, before Hashem your God: the heads of your tribes, your elders, and your officers — all the men of Israel; your small children, your women and your immigrant who is in the midst of your camp, from the hewer of wood to the drawer of water, for you to pass i…

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Trucks hauling California produce likely would have passed unnoticed by Tim Rosengren if not for the large images of bees painted on their sides. He wondered why trucks would be decorated that way, and after some investigating, he discovered how instrumental bees are to the growing process a…

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Nothing brings community together quite like food. With the probability of family and friends being apart this High Holiday season, I wanted to create something that would bring us together in the spirit of the holidays.

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The most hallowed memories of youth are invariably filled with firsts: your first bicycle, first car, first paycheck. As we travel the road of life, those firsts serve as milestones of joy and sometimes heartache like a child taking his first step or the loss of a loved one.

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I know it’s a bit premature (both in terms of calendar and the pandemic), but this week’s Torah portion, Ki Teitzei, has me thinking about ushpizim, the fantasy guests that we invite into our sukkah each year.

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In the last decade, Marvel Studio’s Marvel Universe series of superhero films has broken box office records and redefined its genre with the adventures of Iron Man, Captain America and the Hulk. Marvel’s competitor, DC Comics, with its own pantheon of equally famous characters like Superman,…

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Annually we read the challenge of parshah Re’eh and repeat it to our kids and each other often. The text of Deuteronomy 11 begins, “Hey, look (see)! I have set before you blessing and curse: blessing if you obey the rules … and curse if you do not obey the rules.” (Interpretation is mine.)

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In this week’s Torah portion of Eikev, Moses continues his closing address to the Jewish people, prior to his passing.

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In this week’s Torah portion, the Israelites in the desert relive the moment from 40 years earlier, when their parents and grandparents stood at Sinai and received Aseret ha-Dibrot, the ten fundamental principles of being in a covenantal relationship with God.

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To truly respect another requires a healthy dose of humility — a misunderstood word, yet an incredibly freeing character trait. To be humble, one should not take credit for their gifts and talents but view them as a gift from G-d. We may be aware of these gifts, yet understand that if someon…

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