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Our Independence. Our Community. Our Song.
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You can cage the singer but not the song. – Harry Belafonte No “one-hit wonder,” the Torah presents us with two great songs. The first, and most famous is Az Yashir – “Then sang Moshe and B’nei Yisrael this shirah…,” praising the splitting of the yam suf and allowing the Children of Israel to be free […]
When It Comes to Israel, God Tells It Like It Is
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I get all the news I need from the weather report… – Paul Simon Minhag has always been foundational to our Jewish experience. One of the great benefits of valuing minhag is that our tradition gives us a common narrative, a common reference, and a common context for our lives. As it turns out, tradition, […]
Love and Blessing
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Faults are thick where love is thin… Love is hard. No, not the travails of romance that are peddled by the entertainment industry – whether film, books or music. As challenging as such love undoubtedly can be, or how it sets our hearts racing, the more difficult love is between a man and his fellow; […]
Arachin: Value and Worth in the Balance
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Our moment in modern culture finds large swaths of people bogged down in malaise. Once, when we considered a new car or new furniture, we asked about the cost of things; when considering a vacation or the relative merits of considered experiences, we questioned how much time to devote on a project. That is, we […]
Time: The Eternal Challenge of the Everyday
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As if you could kill time without injuring eternity – Henry David Thoreau In a song recorded many years ago by the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger warbles, “Time, time, time is on my side…” The sentiment is, or course, the attitude of youth. And arrogant youth at that. As we age and grow more insightful, it […]
The Treasure Within: Affliction and Grace
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Can there be grace in affliction? It seems odd to even pose the question. Affliction is, well, affliction. It is, by definition, unsettling, and agonizing. An affliction is not merely misfortune, for misfortune can land on any one of us at any time; misfortune and responding to it is woven into the fabric of being […]
“Good Enough” is Not Good Enough
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When is “good enough” good enough? There are a series of commercials that have been getting a great deal of play recently. Presenting several scenarios, the commercials question if “good enough” is an acceptable standard. Would you want “good enough” in a surgeon? A financial advisor? The obvious answer is, no. These ads remind us […]
This They Shall Give: Raising Others, and Ourselves
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The Noam Elimelech explains that money is like fire; it can be used to create, protect and nourish, or it can be used to harm and destroy. How to balance wealth, material beauty, comfort and desire with spirituality? How we manage our inherent materialism speaks to how we manage the fundamental tension between the physical […]
Teacher, Open Doors – Your Students Will Walk Through
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Ein yeiush ba’olam klal With the right approach, there is hope for every single Jew – Rebbe Nachman of Breslov A new teacher arrived at her first classroom to find a young boy by the door, looking despondent.  She asked him what the matter was. “It’s locked,” he said, glancing at the door dejectedly. The […]