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Selective focus with a colorful box of crayons in the foreground and a small child coloring in the background

As someone who is half-Filipino and half-Hispanic and grew up in a diverse Dallas, TX, neighborhood, I never gave much thought to the politics of skin color and how that affected me – at least not until I entered the Jewish community.

I don’t exactly fit the “typical” Dallas Jew profile because I am not white. I am proud of my heritage, but I never really thought much about it until I found myself surrounded by people very different than those I grew up with.

I started working at my synagogue in the summer of 2015, which provided me with a great deal of experience, both...

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Well-worn book opened to the section entitled Book of Ruth

Every year as Shavuot approaches, I think about my mother. That’s because her name was Ruth -- just like the book we Jews read on Shavuot.

On Shavuot, Mom used to make turos palacsinta, cottage cheese crepes. (Mom was a proud Hungarian Jew, not a Yiddish speaker, so she never called them blintzes.) As a kid, I hated cottage cheese, and, although the pancake part was good, I picked out every single golden raisin, since raisins were for eating separately and without a cheesy coating.

When I was little, she once...

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Dictionary open to anti-Semitism, with that word highlighted in neon yellow and a Jewish star stamp resting on the page

As we have done in the past, my wife, Vickie and I currently are spending five weeks in Germany speaking about the Shoah and reconciliation in several schools. In addition, I am teaching interfaith groups in synagogues and preaching in Christian churches, encouraging Germans to learn from the past to create a better future.

I was not surprised, therefore, when several people back home sent me a link to the feature story, “The New German Anti-Semitism,” which appeared in the May 21st edition of the...

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Closeup of the buttons on a persons blazer that read DO JUSTICE and RELIGIOUS ACTION CENTER OF REFORM JUDAISM

It’s been just over a week since the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) wrapped up its 2019 Consultation on Conscience, the Reform Jewish community’s flagship social justice event. Attended by more than 1,000 clergy, lay leaders, and other activists, this was the largest Consultation in history – and the lessons learned there will resonate within our community long past our four days in Washington, D.C., together.

Whether or not you were able to attend the...

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Shadowy profile of two adults and two children holding hands against a sunset

What is the most “popular” mitzvah?

Tikkun olam, repairing the world.

And, why?

Because of what we learn in the Talmud (Sanhedrin 37a): “Whoever saves a single life is considered by scripture to have saved the whole world.’ Because we are created in God’s image.

This means everyone – not just Jews.

Like, for example, Alan Kurdi’s lifeless three-year-old body lying in the...

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