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Concrete building in which members of Kibbutz Mishol live

In a nondescript building in Nof HaGalil (a town in the north of Israel that until this year was called Nazareth Illit), 150 people – half of whom are children – are attempting to create societal transformation. These individuals, members of Kibbutz Mishol, are part of a burgeoning “urban kibbutz” movement.

Although the word “kibbutz” calls to mind isolated, agricultural settlements, now considered by some to be a part of Israel’s past, Kibbutz Mishol is no ordinary kibbutz. Urban kibbutzim such as Mishol pride themselves on...

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Jonah Bookman poses with his state senator

I chose to spend the last day of summer before seventh grade participating in the 2019 Sacramento Lobby Day with the California Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC-CA). This was a very special experience for me, and it was incredible to be able to go and participate with my synagogue, Congregation Or Ami in Calabasas, CA. 

I have always hated thinking about people who go to bed at night with no safe place to sleep and no food. Even though it’s hard to imagine,...

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Black and white photo of Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen was born on September 21, 1934 in Westmount, Quebec two days after his family observed Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, the oldest traditional Ashkenazi synagogue in Canada. 

When Leonard was 9 years old, his father, Nathan, was laid to rest in the congregation’s cemetery. In a secret ritual, the grief-stricken boy folded a message into one of his father’s bowties and buried it in the garden.

All his...

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The author and another person preparing salmon to serve to guests

Are you thinking about hosting your closest family and friends for Erev Rosh HaShanah dinner or Yom Kippur break-fast?

For many, the thought (never mind the practice) of doing such a thing might cause stress and anxiety. For others, there is something exciting about an occasion to create warmth and hospitality, as well as spread love of our Jewish traditions to others.

With all of these ideas in mind, here are some pointers to consider as you prepare to host a fantastic High Holiday gathering....

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Parents and children at a community Tot Shabbat program

I love Tot Shabbat.

I’ve written before about how excited my wife and I are to bring our daughter into the world of Reform Judaism and expose her to its values. Tot Shabbat represents her first opportunity to take a step forward and create her own version of Judaism.

For the uninitiated, Tot Shabbat is a Friday or Saturday program series for families with children up to about age 6 that incorporates music and movement to introduce the history, values, and traditions of Judaism to a new generation. It brings...

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