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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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Scene from a rally in Homestead

Recently, news broke that Homestead, the largest detention center for immigrant children and youth, had closed. At its height, Homestead held more than 3,000 young people in prison-like conditions with inadequate access to education, health care, and legal services. Though intended to be a temporary, emergency influx shelter, Homestead was holding children indefinitely.

In May, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (the RAC) and the Reform Jewish...

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Closeup of a man typing on a laptop

Dear Rabbi,

I hope this letter finds you well, and shavua tov/Shabbat shalom, depending on when you read this.

I wanted to write this letter – publicly and openly – as a form of gratitude and appreciation. A lot of events, circumstances, and people led to my becoming a Jew, but you stand out in particular. You were the first rabbi with whom I ever discussed the idea of conversion, and I felt comfortable doing so because of your personality and approach to Judaism.

As a full-time...

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