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A b’rachah (blessing) isn’t enough. Anytime we delve into Torah study, we need more than the b’rachah over study; we need words of strength to brace ourselves, as we engage in Torah’s complexity.

In The Divine Symphony: The Bible’s Many Voices, Hebrew University Bible professor Israel Knohl describes the challenging, often contradictory theological and spiritual impulses in Torah as “the divine symphony.” The task set before lovers of Torah is to “learn to listen to the various parts of the symphony, each instrument speaking out from an array of ideological possibilities and often...

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This year has been an extremely difficult one for me. My 13-year-old son, the love of my life, returned from a summer visit with his father and announced that he wants to go and live with him at the end of the school year. He said this with no anger, no malice, and no hurtfulness. He reassured me that he loved me, he knew I loved him, no one knew his heart better, and the lessons I had taught him would carry him through this monumental transition.

I was not as composed. Full of panic, fear, loss, grief, anger, sadness, resentment, and desperation, it felt like I was drowning while...

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I have two black dogs. One makes me laugh, and one makes me cry.

One of my black dogs is named Jojo. Sometimes we refer to her as Jojo the Clown, because she makes my entire family laugh. She has a dance that she does when she sees new people or favorite people, aka “the Jojo dance,” which consists of her front paws doing a waltz and her back paws doing the Charleston. Someday I need to stop laughing long enough to make a video.

Jojo is a rescue dog. She languished at her foster home, waiting for new people. The old people had gotten sick and had to give her up. After...

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My mother passed away on Rosh Chodesh Iyar – May 1, 2014. It’s fair to say she was a legend in the Reform Jewish community. For 21 years, she was the director of the National Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY), and for 12 summers, she held court at her faculty cabin at URJ Kutz Camp, where she taught leadership skills, Yiddish, and - most importantly - supplied lots of up-and-coming Reform Jewish leaders with late-night candy and chips. She touched thousands of lives and inspired not just me but hundreds of other kids to become rabbis, cantors, Jewish educators, synagogue presidents, and...

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I hadn’t planned on spending three days in Israel last week, but with Hamas’s war against the people of Israel, I knew I had to be there. The FAA’s temporary ban on flights to Israel made my travel harder but thankfully, I managed to secure one of the last seats on a packed El Al flight with others who just couldn’t be far from Israel at such a time.

A few weeks earlier I stood with thousands of Israelis in Modiin at the burial of Eyal, Naftali and Gilad, the kidnapped Israeli teens. Rabbi Dov Zinger, Dean of Yeshiva Makor Chaim in Kfar Etzion, where two of boys had studied, gave a...

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