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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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Seeking holiness In how we behave each day The "code" is found here


The chapters of Torah often called "The Holiness Code" begin in this week's double portion. So called because of the numerous repetitions of the phrase "You shall be holy," it includes many ethical commandments. These laws provide guidelines for our behavior as we strive for holiness in our lives. Leviticus 19:1-2:

God spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the whole Israelite community and say to them: You shall be holy, for I, Adonai your God, am holy.

May 7th will mark the Jewish festival of Lag BaOmer which – like, Shavuot and Hanukkah – is not mentioned in the Torah.

During the seven-week period between Passover and Shavuot, Leviticus 23:15-16 commands us, we are to count the Omer (Sefirat Ha'omer). For the 49 days leading up to Shavuot, the holiday that commemorates...

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