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Two people's hands cradling a heart

My encounter with Karen Onesti was just as unexpected as that of our forefather, young Joseph, who, wandering in a field, suddenly meets a “man” (an angel?), who just happens to know exactly where his brothers are shepherding that day.

The “field” in which I encountered my own angel-person was the parking lot of the local community center where Karen and I had just attended a monthly interfaith clergy meeting. As we stood near our cars, I briefed her about my worsening kidney disease and imminent need for dialysis, sharing that I recently had been listed for transplant on the...

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Curious little girl standing in front of a blackboard with question marks chalked on it

Passover offers us the chance to learn in multiple ways and to think about some of the most important Jewish values. The ideas of moving from slavery to freedom, of welcoming the stranger because we were once strangers ourselves, and of thinking about how to pass on the story of our past to new generations – all are inherent in the celebration of the festival.

But how to pass on these ideas is almost as important as the messages themselves. Fortunately, our Talmudic rabbis gave us a roadmap for how to best do that...

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Bride and groom holding hands but faces arent visible

As I plan my wedding, I'm surprised by how often I've been asked whether my fiancé and I will be having a Jewish wedding. It's the one question we've heard the most, from Jewish and non-Jewish friends alike.

My fiancé, Mike, grew up Catholic but is now an atheist; I grew up Jewish, work for a Reform Jewish organization, and identify as culturally Jewish but spiritually agnostic. Reform Judaism, as a community and a movement, is really important to me, and I've always envisioned having a Jewish wedding, which is fine by Mike.

Here are some of the Jewish elements we're...

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Womans feet barefoot on jagged rocks

On day three (or was it four? Trazadone made evenings blurry), I realized that this wasn’t working: I was barely out of my mid-20s and found myself inpatient in a psychiatric hospital three times. That’s not to say the facility wasn’t topnotch and the staff wasn’t kind and professional – it was simply the striking epiphany simply that the way I was spending my 20s wasn’t working.

Feeling a panic that might have been quelled by Xanax, I prayed to God from the tiled bathroom I’d barricaded myself in that the rest of my life wouldn’t be like this – that I wouldn’t spend my summers...

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Injustice written on a blackboard with the Un partially erased

As anyone with a Jewish mother can attest, guilt is a powerful tool. (Now that I’m a Jewish mother myself, I can crack that joke.) Its power often prompts us to act. As a fundraiser and social justice advocate, I’m okay with that. Waxing poetic about the purity of one’s intentions is fine, but a good dose of guilt often is what gets people moving.

As North American Jews, we have attained a certain level of privilege, notwithstanding the recent anti-Semitic threats that have plagued Jewish institutions across the country. Generally, we are regarded as equal members of civil society...

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