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Young man sitting on a retaining wall looking at the water

Feeling the presence of God, in my experience, is a hit or miss deal. In working with people – often in pastoral care, spiritual direction, or the conversion process – I often joke that if I show up every Shabbat to light candles, and God shows up five times a year, we will meet. But if I appear only five times a year, as does God, the odds of the two of us being there at the same time drops precipitously! 

Experiencing God takes work and discipline, but who wants to hear that? 

I don’t necessarily feel close...

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Debbie Friedman

Editor's Note: This piece was originally published on January 13, 2011, immedately following the death of beloved Jewish musician Debbie Friedman, z"l. Today, on the ninth anniversary of her death, we share it with you again. How did Debbie Friedman's music impact your life? We'd love to hear from you in the comment section below. 

Singer Debbie Friedman helped me find something I often lacked during childhood and young adulthood. She helped me discover a love for my faith and the beauty and meaning of many prayers. I saw...

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Opening panel of the RBG exhibit at the National Museum of American Jewish History

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first Jewish woman to serve on the Supreme Court, became the 21st inductee into The National Museum of American Jewish History’s Only in America® Gallery/Hall of Fame on December 19, 2019. Her induction coincides with the Philadelphia museum’s current exhibition Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on view through January 12, 2020.

Emcee Nina Totenberg, NPR’s award-winning legal affairs correspondent, introduced her friend as “an American...

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Group of high schoolers standing in front of a large colorful mural

Teacher: “Class, what’s the definition of Zionism?”

Students, in unison: “Zionism is the aspiration of the Jewish people to build a Jewish democratic state in Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel)!”

High schoolers in the URJ Heller High study-abroad program in Israel quickly gain an understanding that Zionism is the founding ideology of the State of Israel. Next, it’s time that we take class outside and see this in action.

Going on tiyulim (trips) to understand Zionism allows us to see that the goal of having a Jewish state is...

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Silhouette of a pregnant person against a brightly colored sunset

Back in December of 2018, on a Friday evening service, a congregant came over immediately after services ended and said to me, “You always sing better when you are pregnant.” I smiled at her gently; she didn’t know she had given me the ultimate compliment.

You see, singing during pregnancy is not without challenges, to say the least. Our bodies go through an amazing transformation during pregnancy, and many of them affect the voice.

Hormonal changes can affect the voice’s tone and quality; a growing baby puts pressure in different areas, sometimes creating back pain,...

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