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[Author's note: What follows is a portion of my eulogy at Leonard’s funeral on Sunday morning, March 1. He was married to my dear first cousin, Susan.]

Leonard shared with me after he and Susan married 26 years ago that he had never met a woman like her, never had he loved anyone so dearly and passionately, that she’d saved his life and lifted him from darkness and unhappiness in ways he never thought possible. His love, appreciation, respect, and gratitude for her transformed him and enabled him to begin his life anew. 

Susan – you were a stellar, loving and brilliant life...

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During the 40 years that I served as a congregational rabbi, Purim evolved from a pleasant celebration into what has become, in my view, almost a third High Holiday.

We no longer simply read the M’gillah to cheer Esther and boo Haman. Today, we have come to expect elaborately choreographed and carefully rehearsed Purim spiels with clever lyrics sung to the tunes of popular songs or show tunes. At our congregation, one woman has become a legend for writing such clever lyrics, and other communities have their bards, as...

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The priestly vestmentsLike our Shabbat observanceHonor and glory

 

Parashah T'tzaveh is almost entirely concerned with the ritual clothing and ordination of the priests. God says the priests' vestments are "for honor and glory" (לכבוד ולתפארת - l'chavod ul'tifaret). The same words are in the blessing that follows the Haftarah reading.

Exodus...

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As we wrap up Jewish Disability Awareness Month, we think also of people with disabilities in other countries. Worldwide, 650 million people live with disabilities, more than twice the population of the United States. In Israel, there are more than a million children and adults of working age who live with disabilities, according to...

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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...

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