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For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with streams and springs and fountains issuing from plain and hill; a land of wheat and barley, of vines, figs, and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey.

-Deuteronomy 8:7-8

As the fleeting lushness of the Galilee spring was just about to fade into the dusty brown of summer, we grabbed the opportunity of a perfect day wedged between a choking chamsin (a dry, hot, sandy wind) and what turned out to be a few days of a surprise reprise of winter, to spend a few hours hiking along Kziv stream. Kziv flows...

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Israelis are used to being asked to open up their bags and backpacks for inspection almost wherever they go.  When entering supermarkets, malls, bus stations. You name it. Usually, this routine rite of passage is accompanied by the standard question "Yesh neshek?" ("Do you have any weapons?") Most people are willing to sacrifice a bit of time and privacy for the added sense of security that these checks give them. Over Passover, though, it seems that something other than security was at play at Afula's municipal...

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I understand why Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction last month. It is a beautiful, captivating and moving story. Set in World War II, possibly the most written-about period in history, it manages to cover original ground. The main characters are tragically drawn, rich, and full. Novels as well-written are few and far between and deserving of honors.

It is only upon reflection, and in context, that I find it part of a larger, disturbing trend of well-written, popular...

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The wisdom of Torah is applicable in all times and places. Especially during these tense days in the life of Baltimore, the city where I live and serve as a rabbi, the lessons of Torah help us understand what we must do.

Last Shabbat, we read Parashah Kedoshim in the Book of Leviticus, the physical and theological center of the Torah. The Book of Leviticus, a document written primarily for priestly consumption, is concerned with distinctions. God likes orderliness. God does not want us to wear clothing of mixed fabric, to plow a field using diverse animals, or sow a field with...

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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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