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Yom Kippur

It is a tree of life to those who hold fast to it, and all its supporters are happy. Its ways are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace. -- Proverbs 3:18

Recently in my congregation, while holding fast to the Torah, we didn’t hold fast enough – literally – and it accidentally fell to the floor during a Shabbat service.

Such occurrences are rare, and fortunately the scroll did not sustain any damage. Still, Jewish tradition prohibits a Torah scroll from touching the ground – and it also provides us with a path toward restoring its sacred status when the...

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As a teenager, I would sit on my bedroom floor listening to old records of Belgian singer-songwriter, poet, and performer Jacques Brel. I didn’t need to keep a journal, because his lyrics wove together everything I felt at the time. Brel had a fire within, and his anger, longing, passion, and truth blazed through every word he sang. His music, raw and real, transformed and fed my soul; it informed and shaped who I am today. 

In 1968, Brel’s music was brought to America as a musical revue, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, with the songs translated into English....

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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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