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A pair of feet faced with a choice: do good or do bad, which are noted on the ground in front of the feet

Both at home and when I’m in Germany, where I travel frequently, people often ask me: How could a good God allow the Holocaust to happen? The best answer to this question, I believe, lies in the biblical story of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-16).

It was Cain who initiated the idea of an offering to God, and Abel also brought his choicest flocks. However, the efforts of commentators to justify God’s action by saying Cain brought dried out stalks (B’reishit Rabbah, chapter 22) ring hollow.

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A child's shoe and sock from the museum exhibit

The artifacts displayed in “Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away.,” a major new exhibition opening at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City on May 8, are traces of genocide, the remnants of a murdered people, and the material evidence of crimes against humanity. They are what remain, despite the perpetrators’ attempts to conceal their crimes.

Some are seemingly ordinary things.

To most of us, a blanket is associated with a warm, comfortable bed. But it takes on a radically different meaning in the story of Auschwitz. There, a...

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A row of small candles, all lit

One would be hard-pressed to find an itinerary for a trip to Israel that does not include a visit to Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center. The museum and its outdoor monuments are incredibly thoughtful and informative. Exhibits take visitors through the development of Nazi ideology, early forms of discrimination, and ultimately the atrocities of the concentration camps. The appropriately dark and gloomy building opens up at the end to display a scenic view of the outskirts of Jerusalem. The museum moves visitors from danger to safety, from destruction to rebuilding, from...

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Closeup view from the bottom of the Statue of Liberty looking up against a blue sky background

On the eve of Yom HaShoah, the Kraus Family Foundation and the Union for Reform Judaism announced the creation of the Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus Initiative for Immigrant and Refugee Justice. This new initiative seeks to galvanize people to action around the current immigration and refugee crisis in the United States.

Peter and Jill Kraus, the foundation’s co...

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Cyclist Kimberly Burnham and a friend stand over a row of bicycles

There’s a moment from 2013 that is forever etched in my head.

I am standing in the parking lot of Har Shalom in Missoula, MT. Beside me in the early morning sunlight is Rabbi Laurie Franklin, who I met just two days earlier, when other Hazon bicyclists and I rode into Missoula on a Tuesday night. She looks at me with soft wise eyes – the kind of wisdom born of tough experiences, I think – as she welcomes me to her synagogue. As she warmly shakes my hand I feel truly seen.

It is my second week of...

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