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Rabbi Stephanie Alexander leads a Havdallah service behind the bimah with two others

Rabbi Stephanie M. Alexander received her undergraduate degree from Tulane University, and ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She has been the senior rabbi of Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim (KKBE) in Charleston, S.C., since 2010, having previously served at Temple Beth El in Dubuque, IA, Temple Isaiah in Lexington, MA, and in the Union for Reform Judaism’s youth department.

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A dove holding an olive branch written in chalk against black pavement

Creator of all humankind, at this fearful moment we beseech You to bless Israeli and Palestinian leaders alike with wisdom, caution, compassion, and restraint.

As tensions run high and pressures increase, we implore You to help those throughout the region to choose reason over retaliation, reconciliation over revenge.

Neither rockets nor airstrikes can alleviate the resentment and mistrust that has one again brought on a new iteration of the same conflict.

Cain’s failure to resist the inclination to wrath, the temptation to lash out at Abel, resulted in their...

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Danny Cooper and another man holding signs that say REFORM JEWS WELCOME IMMIGRANTS

If someone told me, as a high school senior, that after graduating college, I’d find myself working in Washington, D.C., for the largest Jewish denomination in North America, I would have been skeptical. 

In the years following my bar mitzvah, I barely set foot in temple. I loved lighting Hannukah candles and celebrating Passover with my family, but I wasn’t drawn to more formal synagogue activities that felt often like obligations...

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Keyboard with one button bearing the Israeli flag and another reading VOTE in blue

It is a well-known dictum that it is forbidden to count Jews. We find this halachah in the Babylonian Talmud Yoma 22b, based on the words of the prophet Hosea 1:10: "And the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which shall neither be measured nor counted."

The medieval commentator Rashi challenges this negative view of counting in his commentary on the first verse of the Book of Numbers, portraying it instead as a gesture of love on the part of God:

“Because they (the children of Israel) are dear to God, God counts them often. God counted them...

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Activists holding a large sign that reads REFUGEES WELCOME

Rabbi Lee Bycel is the Sinton Visiting Professor of Holocaust, Ethics and Refugee Studies at the University of San Francisco. He served as dean of the Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles from 1982-1997.

His visits to refugee camps in Darfur, Chad, South Sudan, Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Haiti led to his writing Refugees in America: Stories of Courage Resilience and Hope in Their Own Words (Rutgers University Press). Proceeds will benefit two refugee settlement organizations:...

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