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Open hand reaching skyward into the sunshine

Written several years ago, this poem about Parashat Balak is among my favorites.

I meant to curse You. I opened my lips Past the borders of my fear And felt the curse rise in my throat. Like the sun, It's heat burned And lit me from within. Oh! I meant to curse You. Instead there was a song: Diffuse and Round, A glory of light and dark Together. Rising like glory, And cold, And silver. Rising like wonder And reflected joy. I meant to curse you Instead I called out Your...

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Abstract photo of black/dark background with spots of light, especially on the left

I don’t remember exactly when I first learned of chevrah kadisha (holy society), the group of people who ensure that the bodies of deceased Jews are properly protected and prepared for burial according to Jewish tradition. I do recall that it was sometime in early 2011 that I volunteered to serve as a shomeret (guard, feminine form) for members of my synagogue on behalf of the Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation, which organizes and manages our local Jewish burial society. Chevrah kadisha is a Jewish custom that originated in Prague in 1564.

I’m not certain what prompted me to take...

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Sunset profile of a child holding the hand of an adult and looking up toward them

“Kids, before I loved your father, I was in love with a woman…”

“Kids, I want you to know that I wasn’t always heterosexual. I mean, I’m still not heterosexual, but…”

“Judah, Niva, before you were born, there was a time when mommy thought her future kids would have two mommies…”

None of these openers rolls off the tongue, nor do any seem totally digestible for my 4- and 6-year-old children – yet, these are some of the ways I’ve tried to explain my sexuality to them.

Some people may think it inappropriate to discuss sexuality with young children or that this...

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Orange and purple sunset over water

A couple of weekends ago, I did something totally beyond my comfort zone. Along with 20 other Jewish activists, I attended a contemplative, mostly silent, meditation retreat through the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. Throughout the whole experience, I felt myself growing and exploring so much about myself and how I show up and exist in the world.

But before going into my takeaways from the experience, it’s important for you to know the structure of the retreat. Over the course of four days, we were silent for about 90 percent of...

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Silhouette of a person reading in a hammock strung between two palm trees on the beach at sunset

Now that we’re full-on into the lazy days of summer, are you looking for a good read you might not have had time or bandwidth for during the year? In case you missed them the first time around, here’s a round-up of some of’s recent book reviews. One might be just the thing for your summer reading.

1. Karl Marx: Philosophy and Revolution

In what Rabbi A. James Rudin calls...

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