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Shoe with a wilted flower on it as partof an installation that honors the Jews who were killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen in Budapest during World War II

Textbook history can be dry and seemingly lifeless, but the collective past of the human race is our touchstone to assessing where we might venture moving forward. In this era of fake news and tweets, with knowledge being devalued in many places, we need, more than ever, to rely on humanity’s history in all its truth, both the ugly and exemplary, to guide our decisions about what is happening around us, pointing where we might be headed.

Philosopher George Santayana made it clear that those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat it. January 27 marked...

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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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Team Israel standing shoulder to shoulder in the dugout while wearing blue and white uniforms and kippot

A couple weeks ago, Adam Atkins didn't know Israel had a baseball team.

But since the squad started winning games last week in the World Baseball Classic, he has become a fan. Atkins and his friends wanted team caps, but were frustrated to discover they were sold out online.

"The only thing available was a youth size, and I considered if my head was small enough to fit! That's how bad I want a hat," Atkins, a 33-year-old renewable energy consultant based in New York, told JTA. Israeli baseball "is definitely in the air."

Team Israel's improbable five-game run in the...

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Close up of a seder plate

What kind of leadership style works best for a seder? During a period when we are experiencing a shake-up in national leadership, you may want to re-examine the relationship that exists between leader and participants at the Passover meal.

Though seder leaders and participants are not elected, there is still a seder mandate that governs your relationship: Everyone present -- the wise, the wicked, the simple, and even the one who does not know how to ask a question -- are all involved in the evening’s proceedings....

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Hand holding globe

We who work at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism are constantly thinking about our Jewish mandate to do justice. As I remind the L’Taken students each week, our people have been thinking about a just society since Abraham pleaded on behalf of the righteous in Sodom and Gomorrah. Our tradition commands us to “plead for the orphan, the stranger, the widow,” to “do justice,” to “love the stranger” – in these imperatives we find our mandate.

I had a great literature professor in...

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