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Today marks the day our late son and brother, Jeffrey B. Plevan, would have turned 38 years old. Judaism was an enormous part of Jeff’s life, and he received a rich Jewish education despite having significant learning disabilities. He majored in Jewish studies in college, received a master’s degree in Jewish communal service at Gratz College near Philadelphia, worked for Jewish organizations, and was involved in Jewish religious life as an adult. Jeff died suddenly of a heart attack nearly two years ago on his way to a Gratz College alumni event to celebrate his and others’ service to...

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At some point in his or her career, every member of the clergy is called on to defend the efficacy of organized religion as a force for good. How many skeptics conclude from the holy wars of the past, or from the terrifying threat of Islamic extremism today, that faith, far from revealing a path toward harmony, only generates strife? Yet just as we repudiate the facile equation of all Islam with the brutality of its most radical exponents, so we reject such gross aspersion on our religious traditions.   Last Shabbat, following the horrific beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians and additional...

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Orthodox Judaism claims that its only platform is the Torah itself. The Conservative movement was in existence for three generations before it finally created its only set of principles in 1988. But in American Reform Judaism we have had no less than four platforms following an initial set of principles--mostly denying the legitimacy of Orthodoxy--in 1869. There have been the Pittsburgh Platform of 1885, the Columbus Platform of 1937, the San Francisco Centennial Statement of 1976, and the current Statement of Principles, adopted once again in Pittsburgh, in 1999.

Why has the...

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One.

One voice against the world.

One community linked together like the stars forming constellations in the sky.

One journey.

One thousand journeys.

One million journeys taken from the beginning of time, each different than the one that came before it.

One nation, a Jewish nation,

Building a foundation with self-determination to grow stronger,

Stronger than we were the day before and stronger than our ancestors in the desert could have ever imagined.

We are a blank canvas and each journey is a colorful marker.

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As the much-anticipated oral argument approaches in the marriage equality cases coming out of the Sixth Circuit Court before the Supreme Court, the fight for marriage equality within states wages on.

On January 23, Federal District Court Judge Callie V. S. Granade ruled that that Alabama’s ban on marriage equality was unconstitutional. Yet, in the weeks following the court ruling, many counties refused to offer marriage licenses to same-sex couples following a February 8 order by the chief justice of the Alabama State Supreme Court, Roy S. Moore who stated that state court probate...

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