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Lulav and etrog against a bright blue background

While all Jewish holidays serve as great opportunities to practice audacious hospitality, Sukkot has always stood out to me as the most audaciously hospitable of Jewish holidays. What other time of year do we build a temporary makeshift house through the commandment of inviting ushpizin (guests), with the goal of inviting others into it and dwelling together as a community?

In addition to the sukkah itself, we can find similar imagery of audacious hospitality in the...

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Close up of a persons fingers holding a button bearing the colors of the bisexuality pride flag

“Coming out” is an incredibly important and defining moment for many members of the LGBTQ+ community. Coming out means something different to everybody, and no individual story is alike.

As someone who is Jewish and bisexual (bi), I used to think coming out meant making a huge spectacle out of it. I thought I’d practically have to throw a lavish, queer party and make a formal declaration of my commitment to the bi people (a bi mitzvah, perhaps).

I’d later realize, of course, that isn’t the case – and I’d also realize that while coming out can be difficult for everyone,...

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President Andrew Rehfeld with HUC JIR students on the Jerusalem campus

Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D., is the 10th president in the 144-year history of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). Having served as associate professor of political science at Washington University in St. Louis and as president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, Dr. Rehfeld’s career has bridged the academic and Jewish worlds.

I sat down with him at the New York City campus of HUC-JIR to ask him about the path that led to his new role.

...

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White puzzle with one piece missing

I was 20 when I learned that my high school boyfriend – my first love – had committed suicide. His death shattered me, both mentally and emotionally – but in retrospect, it also saved my life. You see, in the months leading up to his suicide, I had been planning my own.

As soon as he took his own life, though, I knew I could never do the same. The carnage he left behind – the emotional wreckage of those of us who loved him – was too unimaginably painful. After experiencing such a loss firsthand, I knew I could never do the same to my own friends and family, no matter how deep my...

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Golden brown turkey, potatoes, and mushrooms in a roasting pan

The anniversary of the first time I understood a joke in Hebrew comes each November. Many years ago, while in ulpan (Hebrew language learning) our professor declared with a smile that the unofficial psalm text for Thanksgiving is from Psalm 118: Hodu l’Adonai ki tov. 

There was a chuckle at one end of the room, and slowly, as each student translated and understood, we all laughed.  

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