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My mother and father were just about the same height, but somehow she always seemed taller. Maybe it was the shoes or maybe the way she carried herself in a proud but not superior Boston kind of manner. Or maybe the cigar, which was a horizontal point of reference, either in his hand or mouth, moderated his stature so it appeared that he was shorter.

I don’t think it ever bothered him. Generally, he was easy going, giving, happy and hard working, always trying to do more for his family. Charlie – with a broad “a,” almost no “r,” – was a good person who struggled with his own...

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I have always loved the High Holidays. Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur are amongst my favorite times of the year, ritually and emotionally. These holidays annually bring to mind wonderful memories from childhood: enjoying services, being enamored with the shofar, the loving embrace of family and, of course, enjoying my grandma’s delicious cooking.

In light of these robust holiday celebrations growing up, I was a bit surprised that I was not ever introduced to the pre-High Holiday observance of Selichot or to the idea that the entire month of Elul is devoted to spiritual preparation....

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What are your earliest memories of “doing Jewish”? I have a smattering of recollections from when I was 5, 6, and 7, though not much before that. Even from those years, I can only call up bits and pieces: moments, vignettes, colors, flavors. Those snippets, though, wove into a happy childhood tapestry.

Now, as a grandmother, I wonder what our little guys will remember of being Jewish in our home – especially around the High Holidays.

Will they remember parading around to the upbeat, symbolically rich music video "Dip Your Apple" by the Ein Prat Fountainheads? What about...

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This summer saw the much-anticipated release of the Pixar movie Inside Out. (If you haven’t seen the movie, here's a good summary.) The movie’s simplified vision of how our minds and memories work seems to be very effective in talking to children about their feelings, their memories, and how their minds work.

This got me thinking: What are my core memories? This is a challenge for each of us. What are our core Jewish memories? And if we’re raising children, what are the core Jewish memories we’d like to encourage in them?

Much of my Jewish life has been celebrated in family...

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When the words of liturgy are taken too literally, the sacred power of prayer is often lost. In his latest book, Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman offers a way worshipers can transcend the limitations imposed by language. You recently published Volume Six of “Prayers of Awe,” your series on the High Holidays. Naming God: Avinu Malkeinu, Our Father Our King, from Jewish Lights Publishing, explores the problems we have in naming God. What are the problems and why did you choose Avinu Malkeinu to illustrate them?

Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman: Jews the world over are...

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