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    To meet the Divine Make sure you're fully present Avoid distractions     Exodus 24:12 God said to Moses, "Come up to Me on the mountain and be there, and I will give you the stone tablets with the teachings and commandments which I have inscribed to instruct them."   Every word of Torah is important. When a passage seems unnecessary we must look for a deeper meaning. In this verse the question is why it's necessary for God to tell Moses to "be there" (in some translations to "wait there") after instructing him to come to God on Sinai?   In his "Davar Acher" for this week's Ten... Read More

How does America’s favorite pastime align with Jewish values – or not?

It’s ironic that Super Bowl Sunday is played the day after we read the Torah portion Mishpatim, which is chock full of laws that govern civil, criminal, ritual, and ethical actions, as well as behaviors and relationships. Mishpatim translates roughly as “These are the rules” – and while there are many rules that govern the playing of professional football, I find myself thinking about the many less-than-desirable human behaviors the game...

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“To call a woman a “real baleboosteh” is to bestow high praise indeed: It means the honoree is a splendid cook, baker, laundress, and, above all, keeps so immaculate a home that ‘You can eat off the floor.’” – Leo Rosten, The Joys of Yiddish

I was praised as being a “real baleboosteh” as a young girl because I liked to bake and cook, and I understood that beyond tasting delicious, it was all about the presentation (e.g., carrot florets and sprigs of parsley on salads). But the first time I made butter...

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I have come to the Newtown Congregational Church, less than a half mile from Sandy Hook Elementary School, to attend an interfaith discourse about guns in our society.

The program opens with a showing of The Armor of Light, a film documenting Evangelist Reverend Robert L. Schenck’s change of heart about guns. A Jewish convert to Christianity, Rev. Schenck has become a leader in the “pro-life” movement, drawing national attention in 1992 when he displayed a preserved human fetus while leading demonstrations. He is now is president of...

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“Showing up,” Woody Allen once noted is “80 percent of life.” Fair enough, but what about the other 20 percent? When it comes to religious ritual, for instance, because we don’t always have readily available roadmaps for responding to new or unanticipated questions about Jewish observance, sometimes just showing up is not enough.

What would you do, say, if you found yourself in the Arctic region, bereft of distinctions between day and night and did not know when to celebrate Shabbat or a holiday? Or when should you observe a holy day if you found yourself stuck on a plane crossing...

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