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Celebrating American Thanksgiving in Israel during the past 40 years



Reminiscing about Thanksgivings past and our first celebration as a young couple living in Kiryat Nordau, Netanya found us hosting Israeli cousins who had been exceedingly kind in welcoming us as new olim.  They joked for many years after about ‘Tanksgiving’. Working with NFTY and with Indiana University students at Hebrew University, I came to […]

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs

How to Ensure Reform Voices and Values are Heard Throughout the World



Shalom from Jerusalem! I arrived on Sunday – together with many other Diaspora Jewish leaders – for the 37th Zionist Congress – often referred to as “The Parliament of the Jewish People.” Especially as our hearts break as our people are viciously attacked throughout this beloved land, taking us further and further from the peace […]

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When It Comes to the Middle East, It Can’t Be All Black and White



by Kendra Gerstein As a community, we feel deeply the recent acts of violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank. It is painful to see these senseless attacks being repeated day after day. Many of us feel both angry and sad as these events continue to unfold. As fears and tensions rise, the outcry is […]

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How We’re Creating Vibrant Jewish Life in Israel and Around the World



by Rabbi Nir Barkin The Book of Deuteronomy, my favorite, begins with this passage as the Israelites prepare to enter the Promised Land: These are the words that Moses addressed to all Israel on the other side of the Jordan. – Through the wilderness, in the Arabah (desert)…in accordance with the instructions that God had […]

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Reform Movement Wins World Zionist Congress Election By Significant Margin



The Reform Jewish Movement was the clear winner in the critical World Zionist Congress election, according to results released today. The ARZA slate, representing the Reform Movement, secured 56 seats out of a possible 145, winning nearly 40 percent of the votes cast in the United States – more than the amount of the next […]

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The Torah of Coalition



By Rabbi Josh Weinberg When Eliezer Ben Yehuda set out to assemble a new, Hebrew language dictionary, he needed to create terminology for modern day concepts that are not found in our ancient sources.  Although many of his words caught on and are used regularly, many others did not.  Recently, I was reminded of two […]

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Mining Diamonds in the Land of Milk and Honey



By Anat Hoffman Israel is not rich in natural resources: no oil ($50/barrel) or diamonds ($10,000/karat); only milk ($3.80/gallon) and honey ($10/16-ounces). This means that human resources are our biggest asset. Israeli men and women are who stand between Israel and its enemies, and who can transform dessert into fertile land. Every Israeli is essential […]

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Today Matters: Make It Count



By Rabbi Josh Weinberg “This is the day that the Lord has made – let us exult and rejoice on it.” -Psalms 118:24 During the years I taught Jewish history on our Movement’s NFTY-EIE high school semester abroad program, at the end of each semester I would ask my students this question: “What are the […]

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Torateinu ARZA: Unto Zion Shall Go Torah



By Rabbi Josh Weinberg  “Moses received the Torah from Sinai and gave it over to Joshua. Joshua gave it over to the Elders, the Elders to the Prophets, and the Prophets gave it over to the Men of the Great Assembly.” Pirkei Avot 1:1 Dan, the official in customs, told me to have a seat with my Torah and wait. […]

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What’s Jewish About These Laws?



By Rabbi Josh Weinberg May it be Thy will, my God and the God of my fathers, to protect me against the impudent and against impudence, from bad men and bad companions, from severe sentences and severe plaintiffs, whether a son of the covenant or not. – The personal prayer of Rabbi Y’hudah HaNasi, BT […]

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The Real Hannah Senesh



By Josh Weinberg It was 70 years ago this week, according to the Hebrew calendar, that a young Jewish girl named Hannah Senesh was executed by firing squad by the Hungarian-Nazi police force. She had been captured after parachuting into Europe with a group of Jewish paratroopers of the Haganah who were sent to rescue […]

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A Pilgrimage for Our Day



by Rabbi Josh Weinberg Mark, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the yield of your land, you shall observe the festival of the Eternal [to last] seven days: a complete rest on the first day, and a complete rest on the eighth day. Leviticus 23:39 Walk around Zion, […]

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NFTY at 75 – Think Big



By Rabbi Josh Weinberg A Jew who participates in the suffering of his nation and its fate, but does not join in its destiny, which is expressed in a life of Torah and mitzvot, destroys the essence of Judaism and injures his own uniqueness. By the same token, a Jew who is observant but does […]

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10 Years of Ten Minutes of Torah

The state of Israel in America (Part 1 of 3)



By Rabbi Josh Weinberg My heart is in the East by Yehuda HaLevy (Toledo, Spain  1085 – 1140) My heart is in the East, and I am at the ends of the West; How can I taste what I eat and how could it be pleasing to me? How shall I render my vows and […]

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