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Rosh HaShanah

The new year is a time associated with revitalization, a chance for new beginnings, the opportunity to create healthier habits and stronger relationships – and for Jews, the new year comes not once but twice a year.

As summer days draw to a close and fall’s first gusts blow through the air, we celebrate Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish new year, and one week later, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. These holy days, arguably the most important in the Jewish calendar, offer the opportunity to revisit the year that has passed and take stock of the way we have engaged with the world in the...

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In North America, many Jews prepare for Rosh Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish new year, by making to-do lists: acquiring seats for High Holiday services, inviting guests, purchasing a new fruit, and preparing chicken soup just like Bubbe used to make.

Likewise, as the secular new year approaches, many Jews mull over whether and how to mark the day: To stay in or go out? Keep it casual or make it a more formal occasion? (I, for one, welcome any excuse to get dressed up – almost as much as I welcome any excuse to stay in my pajamas!)

Both the religious and the secular new year mark...

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To prepare for the High Holidays this year, I did what any rabbi would do: I went undercover as an Uber driver.

Uber, a ride-sharing app that links passengers with drivers, is changing the way we get from point A to B. Drivers make $2.40 per ride to start, plus 10 cents per mile after that. What better way to leave the comfort of home and get some unique perspective?

Reading the drivers’ forum, I totally empathized with the Uber driver who posted this message:

“It's odd that sitting in an air conditioned car would be so draining, but I'm still in my Uber honeymoon...

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The hard work is behind us.

We prayed, chanted, cried, healed, remembered, re-aimed our arrows of good intentions toward the target of new priorities, and reflected on trying not to deflect.

We focused.

During Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, we listened and heard inspirational, sometimes challenging, and ever-genuine pleas, both verbalized and sung, from our rabbis, our cantors, and our fellow congregants. We marveled at our executive directors and professional staff and maintenance crews for the magic they orchestrated behind the scenes.

We got swept up in...

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Chocolate smooths transitions. As we move from summer to fall – vacation to school, Elul to Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur to Sukkot – we might extract historical wisdom from chocolate.

Yes, many of us eat chocolate to de-stress, especially at times of change. More globally, chocolate assisted Jews, and other persecuted peoples such as Quakers, during societal upheavals.

The very trailhead for our contemporary chocolate passions lies at the crossroads of the age of exploration and the discovery of the New World at the end of the 15th century. The exciting and uncertain journeys...

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