Keep ‘Em Separated: Anti-Semitism vs. Anti-Israel

Anyone remember the song, “Come Out and Play,” also known as, “Keep ‘Em Separated,” by the 90’s alternative band, Offspring. The story goes that inspiration for the “keep ’em separated” lyric actually came from frontman, Dexter Holland’s, experience in a laboratory cooling flasks full of hot liquids. He placed them...

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Parashat Ki Tisa: Religious Fanaticism in Israel

Israel’s non-profit SpaceIL launched its spacecraft from Florida’s Cape Canaveral last night in a bid to become the fourth country to make a soft landing on the moon. The unmanned craft, called “Beresheet,” a reference of course to the first word in the Torah, began an approximate seven-week journey to...

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The Life of Sarah – Responding to Pittsburgh

I imagine many of you are feeling a lot of emotions right now. Sadness, anger, fear, comfort, faith, hope… I pray that we all continue to feel, and that we have the strength to share our pain with our fellow congregants who surround us now. I imagine many of you...

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Parental Leave is a Jewish Issue

I was on the phone with a friend last week after an especially long day watching Josephine and our new addition, Nora, all by myself. My friend asked, “So how was babysitting today?” “I was not babysitting,” I said, keeping my voice as gentle as possible to correct them. “When...

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Parashat K’doshim: Happiness vs. Meaning

This past Wednesday night, we had the unique opportunity to host Anat Hoffman, a civil rights pioneer in Israel. Through her organizations, Women of the Wall and the Israeli Religious Action Center, Hoffman works to protect the rights of women, Reform Jews, Arabs and other vulnerable populations. Hoffman does not...

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Take the Long Road

As many of you know, I just returned from leading 18 teens to Israel along with our youth engagement coordinator, Jenn Reiss. On our first full day, after an amazing Israeli breakfast, we headed off to the Tel Dan Nature Reserve. As we started our hike we saw a sign...

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Yerushalayim Shel Barzel (Jerusalem of Iron)

Naomi Shemer, hailed as the “first lady of Israeli song and poetry” is perhaps most famous for her song “Yerushlayim Shel Zahav” (“Jerusalem of Gold”) written in 1967 and often called an unofficial second national anthem. Shemer wrote the song for the Israeli Song Festival held on 15 May 1967,...

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Multi-faith in Morocco

Yesterday and today marked the 79th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass, when ordinary Germans demonized their Jewish neighbors and lashed out against them in violence and hate. Soon after, once Hitler had control over France, the Vichy government there sent a message to King Mohammed V of...

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Tochecha: The Courage to Give Honest Criticism

Anyone notice that stunning tapestry in the lobby when they walked in this morning? How could you not?! The tapestry was hand stitched in 1972 by a group of 49 women at the congregation, led by Evelyn Keyser, and recently restored through the generous support of RS Women. When I...

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