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Home desk setup with Torah study displayed on the screen

Shavuot, like most other Jewish holidays, has been celebrated in many different ways throughout Jewish history. What began as an agricultural festival marking the beginning of the summer wheat harvest transformed into a holiday celebrating the Jews receiving the Torah at Mt. Sinai, often accompanied by eating dairy (or dairy-tasting) foods and all-night-long Torah study.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted so much of how we engage Jewishly, but Shavuot is fantastic holiday for families to celebrate from the safety of...

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Man in a red sweater facing away from the camera while holding the Torah above his head

“You shall proclaim liberty throughout the land for all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you: each of you shall return to his holding and each of you shall return to his family.” (Leviticus 25:10)

“Proclaim liberty” is the most important directive of the Torah, more basic than having one God and more fundamental than honoring one’s parents, remembering Shabbat, or even loving one’s neighbor as one’s self.

Freedom is the reset button of society. It is no coincidence that we are commanded to proclaim...

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The author sits at her home office while wearing a prayer shawl and speaking on a Zoom call

We at the Israel Religious Action Center are eternal optimists.

During this time of social isolation, when we cannot physically be together, we are continuing to think about and plan for the day after. In spite of the threat that this global pandemic poses to humanity, we are working towards a better world that we can return to once all of this is over. 

We are continuing our work against racism, which has been on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have started working on a comprehensive report about the Israeli attorney general’s...

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Two smiling teen girls holding signs that say FUTURE VOTER and SOCIAL JUSTICE ADVOCATE

As a child, my father and I went go to St. Pius Church every Election Day, and I helped fill out his ballot. My dad took out his driver’s license, and I informed the woman in charge of the polling station that he was “Michael Becker on Galloping Hill Road.”

With that hurdle cleared, we proceeded to the voting booth, where he closed the curtain, held me up, and told me which handle to pull on the old dimple ballot machines, which made a satisfying click-clack noise. After turning in the ballot, I proudly affixed his “I voted” sticker on my forehead.

As I grew older, I became...

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Headshot of Rabbi Carole Balin smiling at the camera against a blurred orange and red background

Rabbi Carole B. Balin, Ph.D. is the first woman to earn tenure at her alma mater, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s New York rabbinical school, where she is professor emerita of History. Rabbi Balin is the chair of the board of the Jewish Women's Archive and lectures and publishes widely on gender and the Jewish experience, including the volume she co-edited, Sisterhood: A Centennial of Women of Reform Judaism....

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