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Rosh HaShanah

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When I left for college my freshman year, I was nervous about exploring a new Jewish community. However, I immediately felt at home as I walked into my university’s Hillel’s Conservative Friday night services and saw the Siddur Sim Shalom, the prayer book I had grown up with. The siddur offered me a sense of comfort and familiarity in an otherwise completely new setting.

When I began exploring humanistic Judaism, the humanistic Sh'ma, ("Sh'ma Yisrael Echad Ameinu, Echad Adam – hear Israel, our people is one, humanity is one") allowed me to connect my humanistic Jewish values in a...

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Doing the right thing paid off at the bottom line. How often can you say that about doing a mitzvah? My experience with solar power at the Cape Cod Synagogue has been just that: Our investment in renewable energy has been a positive for the environment, an expression of our Jewish values, and a net budgetary savings.

In 2006, I delivered a Rosh HaShanah sermon that focused on the importance of being independent from the need for foreign oil. The petro-dictatorships of the world are no friends of ours, and the surest way to protect our own interests, save our troops fighting in...

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The number of months, with God, is 12 in the Book of God, the day that He created the heavens and the earth… The month postponed is an increase of unbelief whereby the unbelievers go astray; one year they make it profane, and hallow it another…

-Quran 9:36-37

The media were ready for blood during the days leading up to Yom Kippur this year, as the holiday fell on the first day of the Muslim festival of Eid el-Adha. Given the fraught atmosphere between Jews and Arabs that was created during the Gaza war this summer, there was concern that the usual small-scale Yom Kippur...

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I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re all from families with some level of dysfunction. It’s a human thing. It’s healthy. Look at the founders of Judaism: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses. They all came from dysfunctional families and had dysfunctional families. And look how they turned out. Where else would we learn to cope with all the mishegas (Yiddish: craziness) in our lives? I recently saw This is Where I Leave You, directed by Shawn Levy, and based on the best-selling novel by Jonathan Tropper, featuring Jason Bateman (Arrested Development), Tina Fey (30 Rock), and Jane Fonda (...

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Merriam-Webster defines “diaspora” as “a group of people who live outside the area in which they had lived for a long time or in which their ancestors lived.” Because I am Jewish yet living outside of Israel, I am already labeled a Diaspora Jew, but should we coin a new word for someone who qualifies more than once?

I was born in Long Beach, New York, but have lived for decades in the Chicago area. That I live away from my roots is always close to my soul. Diaspora.

And then there is my longer-than-25-year congregation affiliation to a community that closed its doors in...

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