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Movie still of an Orthodox Jewish man holding a shovel and standing atop a mound of dirt as if digging a grave

“For you are dust and to dust you shall return.” – Genesis 3:19

Most of us know the pain of losing a loved one. While Judaism provides us with a centuries-old method of mourning, each person grieves and reckons with loss in their own way. To Dust, the latest film by Reform Jewish filmmaker Shawn Snyder, discusses mourning in a way I’d never seen.

From the film’s website:

Shmuel (Géza Röhrig), a Hasidic cantor in Upstate New York, distraught by the untimely...

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Father squatting to hold toddler in open grassy expanse with mountains in the background

While the resurgent displays of outright xenophobia, racism, and misogyny in our political discourse have been profoundly distressing for me, they have also put me in closer touch with my Jewish identity. Of course, this also means coming to terms with the prejudice that has exerted such a powerful force on the Jewish experience.

Although my daughter is far too young to understand the current migrant crisis or engage with how it relates to Jewish history, my wife and I have...

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Young child with hands over ears, eyes scrunched closed, and a pained look on her face

When it comes to practicing Judaism, I sometimes ask myself: How can I take part in a communal religion when being around people can be so draining? Purim can be a particularly difficult holiday for those of us who consider ourselves introverts.

When my home synagogue, Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Fountain Valley, CA, was just starting out, we had an annual Purim tradition: a Purim basket (shaloch manot...

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Two person shaped puzzle pieces against a pink background

In 2018, I wrote about "Process Theology," which sees God and the universe in a constant state of evolution and views us as God’s partners in creating a better world. While my belief in God can admittedly vary by the day (sometimes even by the time of day), Process Theology helped me overcome a...

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Partial view of woman's pink silky skirt with gold beading hanging from the tiers

That blush on my cheek? It's paint, And I have glittered my eyes And robed myself in the finery of silk and gossamer, lapis and gold-- And whored myself for your salvation. You asked for no thoughts. You merely offered my body to the king-- My life forfeit If my beauty failed. You asked for no ideas And I gave you none, Though I had a thousand, And ten thousand more. Diplomacy was played on the field of my body, The battle won in the curve of my hip And the satin of my skin, Fevered dreams of lust And redemption. That blush on my cheeks? It is the stain of victory And of my shame.

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