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A tray of fancy soufganiyot in Israel

Every 10 days, I get my hair cut. I don’t have much hair, and if I wanted to, I probably could do it myself. But instead of trying to see the back of my head in the bathroom mirror like a contortionist, I go to Daniel who owns a small barbershop on Azza Street – a five-minute walk from our apartment. 

It takes Daniel literally eight minutes to cut my hair – but we spend about half an hour together. Daniel understands just a bit of English, so we talk in Hebrew. He’s patient with my semi-fluent Hebrew and is pleased when he can correct me and introduce me to new words – such as “...

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View of the ocean from the deck of a cruise ship

Last winter, our family took a cruise that coincided with the first six days of Hanukkah. We called the cruise line beforehand to see if there would be a celebration aboard the ship. Yes, we were told, plans were in place for meals to include latkes, gefilte fish, and matzoh ball soup.

But, said the young woman on the other end of the phone, “We don’t have a rabbi.”

“I’m a rabbi,” I told her, and would be willing to lead the services. Also, I added, latkes and jelly...

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Black and white image of Joe Papp sitting behind a desk

Avi Hoffman was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his portrayal of Willy Loman in a Yiddish-language production of Death of a Salesman. He is best known for his award-winning, one-man shows, Too Jewish? and Too Jewish, Two.

We sat down with him to talk about the revival of the Joseph Papp Yiddish Theatre project and the inaugural YI ❤ NY YiddishFest, which will include a tribute to Joseph Papp. Legendary Broadway impresario Joseph Papp (1921-1991) is best remembered for creating free Shakespeare in the Park and...

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Black and white photo of the Little Africa section of Tulsa in flames during the 1921 race riot

Those closest to me know I’m a big fan of Marvel and DC comics, movies, and TV shows. I’ve written about how Avengers: Endgame helped prepare me for my adult bar mitzvah (during which I wore a Marvel-themed kippah) and how Black Panther can inspire the Jewish community.

However, my favorite comic is Watchmen, a...

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Evan Traylor standing at a podium addressing the URJ Biennial

Editor's note: The text that follows was presented before a live audience at the 2019 Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Biennial on Friday, Dec. 13, during Shabbat services.

Every time I sing the Jewish people’s powerful prayer for peace, I am overwhelmed with hope – hope for a better world for all people.

You know, there was another man from Chicago who spoke of the “audacity of hope” – about seeing beyond the world as it is now and seeing the world as it should be. He knew, as we all know, that sometimes hope can be too hard to find...

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