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Burned forest in Haifa

Over the past few weeks, more than 1,700 brush fires across Israel have destroyed homes, vehicles and countless irreplaceable personal possessions. As a nation, we have also suffered severe damage to more than 32,000 acres of precious natural resources – woodlands, grasslands and protected parklands, as well as the planted forests and the flora and ground-dwelling fauna that once thrived there.

As the smoke clears, organizations and individuals from across the country and around the world are spearheading campaigns to help hundreds of Israeli families reconstruct their homes,...

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close-up of latkes

Latkes (potato pancakes) are the quintessential culinary treat of Hanukkah. While sufganiyot (fried jelly donuts) are the Hanukkah treat of choice in Israel, here in North America, latkes reign supreme. Why do Jews stuff themselves with these fried potato pancakes every winter season?

Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, commemorates the victory of Judah Maccabee and his followers – the Hasmoneans – over the army of the Syrian Greek king, Antiochus IV. As the story goes, when the Jews recaptured the Temple in...

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Two little boys with flashlights reading in a blankey fort

From a new audio version of "Hanukkah Bear" — a holiday favorite by National Jewish Book Award winner Eric A. Kimmel — to a novel for young teens set during the Festival of Lights, there is a fresh crop of Hanukkah books that are sure to delight young readers of all stripes. The first Hanukkah candle is kindled this year on the evening of Dec. 24. So if you're looking to enliven and enlighten your Hanukkah — or simply just send the perfect gift to a loved little one — look no further than these six new books.

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Three firefighters in shadow in front of fire

To you, Lord, I call, for fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness and flames have burned up all the trees of the field. Even the wild animals pant for you; the streams of water have dried up, and fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness. Joel 1

Six years ago, I used the same verse to describe the great fire that consumed half of Mount Carmel Forest and killed 44 men, women, and a teenager. On Thursday November 24, as our American friends were getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, the sky, once again, was covered by a huge cloud of smoke, carrying the heavy...

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Female hands holding red ribbon for AIDS awareness

In commemoration of World AIDS Day, I ask you to please read the final lines from American playwright Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, which you’ll find below.

For the sake of context, it’s important to remember that at the time of the play’s publication and performance, in the early 1990s, AZT and other HIV drugs were just beginning to turn the disease from a death sentence to a condition people could...

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