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Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs

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sunset over the Mediterranean with Jaffa in the background

Watching the fiery sun sink quickly into the Mediterranean makes the 10,000-mile journey worthwhile. I have seen few sights as beautiful. I am not here often, but each time is a homecoming.

Indeed, our people have laid claim to this land for 4,000 years. After one-third of the world’s Jews – and two-thirds of the Jews of Europe – perished in the Shoah, let no one say we have no right to be here. Had Israel existed in 1935, millions of those Jews would have lived.

After World War I, more than 20 Arab-Islamic states – many of which prohibit Jews – sprung up. We Jews, who also...

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Cindy Stowell, Jeopardy contestant

Twenty-three hundred years ago, a small group of loyal Jews defeated those among our people who cared so little for our faith that they were willing to give it up to “be just like everyone else.” Only after civil war broke out among the Jews of Judaea did the Assyrian-Greek army of Antiochus IV invade Judaea, pollute the Temple, and outlaw all Jewish observance. A small army of Jews took to the hills and fought the invaders, eventually driving them out of Jerusalem.  They rededicated the Temple that the Greek soldiers had defiled with idols and the sacrifice of pigs.

The story of...

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We Jews are incredibly proud of our Torah, but we never claim it as history’s first code of law. We do, however, claim that Torah was the first code to grant equal protection under the law to non-citizens: “You shall not oppress the stranger for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

We find the roots of this most-frequent commandment, which appears 36 times in the Torah, in the stories about Abraham, the man our tradition considers to be the first Jew. In an effort to help us work with God to create a more just, caring, and compassionate world, God made a covenant with Abraham...

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It seems to me that it should always be cold at Auschwitz, the sky always a dreary gray.

Unless it is a very hot day, I am always cold; I’ve always been that way. And so more than the other horrible sufferings people endured or succumbed to at Auschwitz, I think of the cold – of the thin pieces of rag that inmates wore, their often-bare feet providing no shield against the brutal Polish winter.

It was not cold by normal standards when my wife and I visited Auschwitz, but knowing my usual preclusions, I vowed not to be cold. I wore long johns, a knit cap, gloves, and four...

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Last year, I was privileged to conduct the first Jewish service since 1938 in the northern German city of Friedrichsstadt. In the interim, to my joy, there have been several Jewish cultural and religious events in Friedrichsstadt, including the bat mitzvah of Laura Wendt, a young woman from Denmark, in a service led by my colleague, Rabiner Dr. Walter Rothschild.

Much credit for the “heavy lifting” necessary to replant Jewish life in this town belongs to Horst (Ephraim) and Rita (Devorah) Blunk, whom I first met in 2014 during adult education sessions and services that I conducted...

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