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My mom died on January 24 at the age of 94. Eight weeks, later my dad died. He was 95. They had just celebrated their 73rd anniversary.

My brother the doctor said the cause of my dad’s death was a “medical mystery.” I claim that he died because he willed himself to do so.

For the past six years, my parents had lived together in the same room in a small nursing home in Los Angeles. My mom, who had a bit of dementia, was content. My dad, who was physically frail but mentally sharp, was miserable, but in his mind, he needed to stay alive to take care of my mom as best he could...

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When I discovered that this week’s parashah (Torah portion) would be Acharei Mot/K'doshim, which includes the Holiness Code, the irony was not lost on me. Here I was, the one openly gay male staff member at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), asked to give a d’var Torah on a parashah that includes one of the Biblical verses most often quoted by people who justify their homophobia with religion: Leviticus 18:22, “V’et zachar lo tishkav mishk’vey eeshah toeyvah hee," "do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman it is an abomination.”

Once I got past the irony of...

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Amidst the clashes Between black and white, Between those in uniform and those in plain clothes, Between those who seek to maintain order and those who seek to disrupt it, Let us pray for both justice and peace.

Let us sing to God a song of grief For innocent lives Lost too soon.

Let us sing to God a song of lament For the unraveling of society, For the fires of hatred that continue to burn.

Let us sing to God a song of hope For understanding and healing To come to every aching city across this nation.

ALL lives matter.

O God, healer of the broken-...

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More than 4,000 people are feared dead in an 7.9-magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal on Saturday morning. Here are two prayers for the people of Nepal, adapted from prayers I wrote for the people of Haiti after a January 2010 earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010: one for the people and one for first responders. They have been revised and used after several major earthquakes.

If you're interested in helping with disaster relief efforts in Nepal and India, see where the Reform Jewish Movement recommends donating.

In Devastation (Prayer for the People of Nepal)


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A glance at the world around us reveals what most would probably consider an undeniable fact: the known universe is comprised of a myriad of organized structures, patterns and arranged matter from the smallest particle to the largest expanse. Placed directly in this field is the lonely human being, searching for meaning, searching for order, and frequently, for God.

As if at once, our meditations invite this strange order to appear to us, as lens focusing, searching for an image, for the image. We wonder, "Why is this so? Who has fashioned this strange entity, the universe, and...

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