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Cluster of balloons with frowning faces and one with a smiley face

The Torah commands us to by joyful on our festivals (Deut. 16:14), which often comes easy for us on festive holidays such as Shabbat, Purim, and especially Simchat Torah – the holiday commemorating the start of our Torah-reading cycle, which we celebrate by singing, dancing, and carrying our Torah scrolls.

This makes sense. We’ve made it through the new year, cleansed...

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Pegs in a wooden board connected by white thread

Within days, Jews the world over will recall the 11 murdered Jews and the eight injured who were shot at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA, on Shabbat Va-eira, October 27, 2018. In the year since, I’ve been thinking – as have rabbis and Jews the world over – about the antisemitic thread that runs through the Tree of Life tragedy.

As a longtime American Red Cross volunteer, I was one of a team of three “disaster spiritual care” volunteers who responded to Pittsburgh in the first week...

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Tealights in the shape of a Star of David with hands reaching in to light some of the candles

Sunday, October 27, 2019, will mark the one-year anniversary of the shooting at Tree of Life Or L’Simcha Congregation in Pittsburgh, PA – the deadliest attack on Jews in American history.

A year later, we continue to grapple with our grief, our fear, and our uncertainty about the future. And yet, as Reform Jewish leader Rabbi Jonah Pesner wrote last year after his visit...

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A mans hands dropping a ballet into a ballot box with a Canadian flag in front

This year, Canada’s federal election will take place on October 21, at the same time as the holidays of Sh’mini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. The overlap of the holiday with Election Day offers an opportunity to consider the relationship between our civic rights and obligations and Torah.

Sh’mini Atzeret comes after Sukkot, set by Leviticus 23:36 and Numbers 29:35 as a...

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White-haired man holding a birthday cake and blowing out the candles on it

Laura Geller, rabbi emerita of Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, CA, was the third woman to be ordained in the Reform Movement. Named an “Influencer in Aging” by Next, a site for people over 50, she is a co-founder of, the first synagogue village in America.

Rabbi Geller is the co-author, with her late husband Richard Siegel, z”l, of...

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