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Matzah brei with green onion garnish on a plate

With Passover coming up this week, housecleaning, matzah-ball making, and other essential preparations are well underway in many Jewish households. Much of the work is intensely physical, requiring that we bend and sweep, scrub and vacuum to find and remove every bit of chametz (wheat, barley, rye, oats, or spelt) from our homes. The rabbis of the Talmud were, you’ll pardon the pun, smart cookies and understood well that the physical experience of preparing for the week-long holiday might (and, they hoped, would)...

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Overflowing bucket of popcorn against a red background

I was born Jewish but married into Judaism.

That is to say, I grew up in a Jewish family, in which we lit Hanukkah candles and were inspired to make the world a better place. But it wasn’t until my twenties that I truly became enchanted by the rich practices, deep structure, and community experience of Judaism.

I met my husband-to-be on Shavuot, a holiday I’d never heard of until a few days earlier. At...

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Israel's parliament building, the Knesset

Last week the citizens of Israel re-elected Benjamin Netanyahu to an unprecedented fifth term as prime minister, making him the longest serving leader in the country’s history. As both a Jewish and a democratic state – which we should celebrate, but certainly not take for granted – Israel faces great challenges, and this election season saw massive head-on collisions among various political forces.   

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s win was anything but a landslide: Both Likud and the newly formed Blue and White party led by Benny Gantz, received approximately 25 percent of the popular...

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Close up of a slice of potato kugel on a white plate

If, like me, you’re planning to host a Passover seder, it is critically important to create one that is warm, welcoming, and inclusive. (Find some tips here for doing so.) This is because Passover is a major holiday through which many individuals – Jews and those of other religions who celebrate together – are exposed to Judaism, whether or...

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Side view of Notre Dame Cathedral as it stood before the April 2019 fire

In March 2012, I visited Paris in my capacity as then-president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ). I’d just attended the European Union for Progressive Judaism’s convention in Amsterdam.

Overshadowing our Paris visit was a horrible tragedy in which four people were savagely murdered at a Jewish day school in Toulouse. We received the heartbreaking news as Rabbi Tom Cohen, of Kehilat Gesher in Paris, was showing us the magnificent Cathedral of Notre Dame. Ms. Miriam Kramer, chairman of...

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