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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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Protester holding a sign that says: Love thy Neighbor

Reports indicate that this weekend, ICE will snatch untold numbers of people from their homes, their workplaces, and their houses of worship. They will be held in detention, and eventually, face deportation. Families will be torn apart, children will be left without parents, and households will be stripped of their breadwinners. We cannot be silent in the face of these injustices.

The mass raids planned by the Trump administration are heartbreaking, heartless, immoral and simply bad public policy. They are also yet another element of the administration’s inhumane immigration...

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Protest sign held overhead that says: Reunite Families Now

This prayer was written in response to the detention of children at the U.S. border, as well as the tragic deaths of innocents there and in the custody of the federal government.

The first stanza alludes to the Emma Lazarus sonnet, “New Colossus,” which appears on a plaque inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. Lazarus calls the border “our sunset gates” and the statue “the Mother of Exiles.” The closing line is from the siddur, the Jewish prayer book, from the section called birkot hashachar, the morning blessings.

The format of the prayer follows other social...

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Coop and his family

Memories of growing up as a Reform Jew in Roslyn, Long Island, bring me a sense of comfort. Our family spent countless Friday nights at Temple Sinai, first praying and then eating sweets and drinking the best flavored soda around. Honestly, I could’ve done without the praying part and skipped right to dessert, but I knew it was all part of being Jewish. When High Holiday services arrived, I loved seeing people all dressed up and, while the rabbi spoke to us, playing with my mom’s rings. My focus back then was not on faith, but on being a good Jewish...

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