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How do we prepare our children for success in a new year of learning?

The start of a new school year always brings with it both excitement and, perhaps, a bit of apprehension. New school supplies, new backpacks, new shoes, and new clothes dominate the retail environment as early as July. You might dispatch the ubiquitous supply list online or at brick-and-mortar stores. You might unlock a parenting badge for completing a mountain of forms. You might set up an Instagram-worthy first-day-of-school photograph.

But how can you, as a parent, also infuse this time with meaning...

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A group of adults eating/drinking in a restaurant or someone's home

When my preteen children and I joined Sinai Temple of Champaign–Urbana in Champaign, IL, in the early 1990s, we knew few people in the congregation of roughly 300 family and individual members. Around the same time, the congregation was organizing a new program: forming chavurah (fellowship) groups.

What I learned about chavurot (the plural of chavurah, which has about as many spellings as Hanukkah), is that they are small, informal fellowship groups comprising temple members...

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Red outline of heart shape on butcher paper; in the heart, the paper is torn back to reveal the words Love Yourself

Jet-lagged, travel-weary, and a little anxious, I caught myself smiling at my reflection in the mirror of the hotel bathroom in Jerusalem. I was serving as the rabbi for a group of 39 couples who were experiencing Israel together for the first time.

On this trip, designed specifically for couples, I found myself, ironically, without my husband for the longest stretch of time in recent memory. It bears mentioning that he and I do almost everything together; we wait to watch (most) of our favorite shows together, to eat at certain restaurants, and even try to do many of our day-to-...

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Closeup of a couple of unidentifiable genders holding hands

Tu B’Av, while a minor Jewish holiday, has gained a surge in popularity in the last century, especially in the State of Israel. A Chag HaAhava (Festival of Love) commonly called “Jewish Valentine’s Day,” Tu B’Av is considered a particularly auspicious day for romance, expressions of love, and even weddings.

Created to commemorate the day that peace was restored between the Jewish tribes, allowing women to marry men from different tribes, many see Tu B’Av as symbolizing the freedom to love without prejudice. 

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The author with Israeli poet Adi Keissar

“I am the mizrachi Jew you don’t know!” writes 38-year-old Adi Keissar – the Israeli poet who’s leading a movement to open up Israel’s poetry and cultural scene to the heritages that Jews brought from their Middle Eastern and North African backgrounds. While we wait eagerly for Adi Keissar to find the right venue to share her poetry in English translation, the work that she and her colleagues are doing needs to be shared now in the North American Jewish community, which a research report recently revealed...

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