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[In the dispute over the impurity of Achnai's oven, Rabbi Eliezer ruled that the oven was pure; all the other rabbis ruled the opposite.] Rabbi Eliezer said: "If the law is according to my view, let it be proven from heaven!" And a heavenly voice called out, "What is your quarrel with Rabbi Eliezer? The law is always according to his view." Rabbi Judah arose and said, "'It is not in the heaven...' -- we do not pay attention to a heavenly voice, for You already wrote in Your Torah, '...follow a majority."'

-Babylonian Talmud Bava Metzia 59

So here it is just a few days...

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I was saddened to hear the news this week of the passing of Father Theodore Hesburgh, former president of the University of Notre Dame. There will continue to be numerous tributes written, stories recounted of the many lives he touched, and recollections made of the wonderful accomplishments he achieved in his lifetime. Yet, as I think back to my several meetings with him, I remember one special occasion that is probably not well known.

My late husband, Rabbi Michael Signer, came to the University of Notre Dame in 1993 as the Abrams Professor...

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The Jewish Journey: America, a one-hour documentary by Grammy award-winning director Andrew Goldberg premieres on PBS March 3, 2015 (check local listings).

Jews have been the archetypal immigrants since that fateful day when God commanded Abraham to “go forth from your land, your birthplace, your father’s house, to the land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). He left home to dwell as an outsider in strange and foreign lands, and the Jewish people have been on the move ever since.

The Jewish Journey: America chronicles...

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[Author's note: What follows is a portion of my eulogy at Leonard’s funeral on Sunday morning, March 1. He was married to my dear first cousin, Susan.]

Leonard shared with me after he and Susan married 26 years ago that he had never met a woman like her, never had he loved anyone so dearly and passionately, that she’d saved his life and lifted him from darkness and unhappiness in ways he never thought possible. His love, appreciation, respect, and gratitude for her transformed him and enabled him to begin his life anew. 

Susan – you were a stellar, loving and brilliant life...

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During the 40 years that I served as a congregational rabbi, Purim evolved from a pleasant celebration into what has become, in my view, almost a third High Holiday.

We no longer simply read the M’gillah to cheer Esther and boo Haman. Today, we have come to expect elaborately choreographed and carefully rehearsed Purim spiels with clever lyrics sung to the tunes of popular songs or show tunes. At our congregation, one woman has become a legend for writing such clever lyrics, and other communities have their bards, as...

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