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man watching sunrise at dawn

After dawn but before sunrise, when the birds begin to sing in harmony, I pick up my small Moleskine notebook to write prayers. The 192-page, black hardcover notebook is lined, and on the last page of the notebook, I keep a running list of ideas for future psalms, prayers, and meditations.

Some mornings, an idea for a prayer will simply arrive. Other mornings, I scan the list of yet-unwritten prayers for inspiration. Some mornings, I write two, three, or more pieces. Other mornings, my voice of prayer is silent, waiting for an internal shift of the spirit.

The first light...

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Basket of different kinds of eggs

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity, there is beauty and there is strength.” - Maya Angelou

Young children continuously explore and experience the world around them, learning and growing daily. The early years are critical for child development; 90-95% of a child’s brain has developed by the time she is 5 years old. As the parent of a four-month-old, I see this every day. Although my daughter is still an infant, I am amazed by how much she’s able to do – and how her growth and development are constantly enhanced.

Children learn by...

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Black and white cocker spaniel

After an 18-month battle with prostate cancer, my 11-year-old cocker spaniel, Teddy, died last September. Immediately before he was euthanized, my wife and I recited a prayer that I wrote. We placed our hands on his head as if he was our child, and tears flowed freely as we read the prayer.

The grief I have experienced since then is real, and some days my heart feels more broken than others. I have seen Teddy in my dreams, disappointed when I awake because I know I won’t ever again hold him or hear his collar jingle. Sometimes, his memory alone isn’t enough to comfort me.

...

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Collage of Purim foods

Purim is coming! Whether you’re looking for a creative gift to include in some mishloach manot or you’re looking to treat yourself, we’ve got you covered. Take your pick between dairy dough and pareve dough, or try our gluten-free dough, then begin to plan the rest of your holiday...

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Directional signs in Old Havana Cuba, including one to a synagogue

In early January, I joined 25 congregants, friends, and clergy on a Jewish mission to Cuba. Though I had done my homework, I was not prepared for what I would find there and how the experience would affect my self-perception as a Jew.

Our Cuban guide, a beautiful, well-dressed woman in her early 40s, spoke with pride about her country and the Revolution, which she said stood for progress. Cuba’s constitution, she explained, calls for an atheist society, not mentioning that in 1992 the constitution was changed to allow for religious freedom. She said churches and temples can...

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