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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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Mother and daughter sitting back-to-back

In the first biblical story, God creates the vast universe according to a specific pattern and order. On the first divine-sized day, God separates day from night and light from darkness. Then, God evaluates the handiwork proclaiming it “good.” On the second day, God separates the lower and higher waters to divide the seas from the heavens. On this day of creation, God neglects to declare it “good.” On the third day, though, after creating all the lovely and colorful flowers, fruits, and trees, God twice declares the work to be “good.”

It’s no surprise that ancient rabbis had an...

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Seder table set with slightly nontraditional seder plate items as explained in this essay

When Passover arrived last year, I was nowhere near ready. I’d made big plans… and hadn’t followed through with any of them. OK, I whipped up a bowl of charoset – the mixture of fruit and nuts that goes on the seder plate – but that was about it. I hadn’t found a shank bone, and I hadn’t hard-boiled an egg, leaving me without two key elements of the seder plate. And though I’d planned to...

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