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The Biblical Origins of Sukkot



Rava said: What is meant by “How beautiful are thy feet in sandals? (Song of Songs 7:2) How beautiful are the feet of Israel when they go up in pilgrimage.” Sukkot is a holy day – a “pilgrim holiday” in its origin sense – to be observed not only with heart and soul, but the […]

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Rosh HaShanah Teaches Us About Making Every Moment Count!



The month preceding the High Holy Days is called Elul. It is a time of reflection before we “officially” begin the important process of teshuvah. In some ways this time of the Jewish calendar reminds me of Havdalah – the short but sweet service in which we say good-bye to Shabbat, but not before we […]

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Being a Nature Jew



I just had the privilege of traveling almost 12 hours from my suburban home in Princeton, N.J., to trek deep into the Rocky Mountains. I had been told that the last six miles of the journey would be on a narrow dirt road up the side of the mountain. I didn’t know that the dusty […]

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Acting Like a Jew…



The barista at my local coffee shop hands me an extra dollar and I immediately hand it back. I see someone struggling with a baby carriage trying to open a door and I rush to help. I make room for a car to enter my lane of traffic. I clean out my pantry and donate […]

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Beyond the Purim Shpiel – Creating Purim Memories at Home with your Mishpacha!



I just had the absolute pleasure of staffing a Taglit-Kesher trip to Israel, as part of the URJ’s Birthright program. The Birthright experience is a 10-day whirlwind of education and activity providing a “taste of Israel” to North American Jews (ages 18-26) who have never before visited Israel on a peer-educational trip. One of my […]

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Rosh Chodesh: My “Girl” Gathering



With great excitement, tinged with a touch of trepidation, I moved to Israel in the summer of 1996 to begin my first year of rabbinical school at Hebrew Union College. There was so much to learn those first few months, from how to pay the phone bill (which, mind you, was in Hebrew!) to buying […]

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To Inspire & Be Inspired…



With a glance at my calendar I quickly compute a number of dates and times with my finely-tuned “breast cancer calculator”.  In just a week it will be my 1-year “anniversary” of the day my life changed forever. It was early last November when I walked into my OB-Gyn’s office for my yearly pilgrimage that […]

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Getting to the Heart of Yom Kippur



Last year I introduced a new ritual into my family’s observance of Yom Kippur. I was determined to observe this most holy of days in a meaningful and active way. Yom Kippur is a long and challenging day, even for the seasoned Jew who spends the month of Elul and the”days of awe” in preparation. […]

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Observing Tisha B’Av: Finding Meaning as a Reform Jew



My first summer at URJ Camp Harlam I was given the task of leading a service for Tisha B’Av. I grabbed a Gates of Prayer out of the camp sifriyah (library) and simply followed its lead. I had trouble relating in my heart to the ninth of Av as one of sorrow and destitute, even though I knew at […]

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