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          Remember, blot out Memory of Amalek Oxymoronic           This week's portion concludes with a reminder of what Amalek did to the people during the desert wandering, and seemingly contradictory commandments to both "remember what Amalek did" and to "blot out the memory of Amalek".   Deuteronomy 25:17-19 Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, after you left Egypt - how, undeterred by fear of God, he surprised you on the march, when you were famished and weary, and cut down all the stragglers in your rear. Therefore, when Adonai your God grants you safety from... Read More

“On Rosh HaShanah, the year’s decree is written, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed, who will live and who will die…”

We hear these words each year in our High Holidays prayer book, and they fill our hearts with dread: Have I done what was right, or at least the best that I was able to do? Are my heart and mind where they should be? What if this year is all that there is?

I suspect that few of us can answer these questions without trepidation, but on Yom Kippur 10 years ago, they held extra meaning for me.

In August 2005, the world watched as Hurricane Katrina churned...

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There are pages even in my new machzor that I imagine stuck together, remnants of honey from my daughter’s sticky fingers, sacred fragments of words and stories memories and possibilities smudged one atop the other like sandcastles on a beach trying to describe a person’s life full of tiny specks and bold mysteries.

Pages, bound and stuck, like so much of life, sweet and stubborn, worn they help us gulp down the bitter with the delicious.

Tender we separate sticky pages and sticky hearts lest we tear them and smudge or erase or wreck words and worlds and loves that call us...

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Nothing is more intimidating than leaving your comfort zone, facing a mix of new people, routines, and cultures – especially when you're doing it alone. I’ll never forgot how it felt when I left for college, a New York girl heading to school in the Midwest. I really hoped people were kidding about cow-tipping.

By the third week, it hit me. Classes were overwhelming, my dorm didn't feel like home yet, and I hadn't made friends that I felt connected to. And though my school had a large Jewish population, I seemed to meet a lot of kids who had never met a Jew. One guy asked (politely...

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“[Jacob] dreamt that he saw a ladder reaching from earth to heaven, with angels going up and coming down on it… And Jacob woke up and said, “God is here! God is in this place, and I didn’t know it!” (Genesis 28:12, 16)

When people ask me about my experiences immediately following Hurricane Katrina, I find myself sharing the same few stories again and again. I think it’s because, for me, they powerfully illustrate how God was with us through those long, emotion-packed days and weeks.

At the time, I was the director of URJ Henry S....

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