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Closeup of a hand holder a sparkler at twilight

The end of a really good story pulls you in, envelops you in its beauty and intensity, leaving you just a bit shaken as you work to incorporate what you have experienced into the new person you have become. You cannot return to the person you were before the story began – you simply have learned, felt, experienced too much.

So, too, with the Torah.

On Simchat Torah, as we read V’zot Hab’rachah...

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Woman in a sweater standing on a beach with her back to the camera

For the first time felt called to celebrate the High Holy Days As deeper ongoing exploration of Jewish Heritage Exploring as an individual not in a community Trying on some of the rituals of the High Holy Days Dipping apples, Self-reflection, Asking forgiveness Reading stories, Listening to podcasts, Watching virtual explorations

Committing with New Year’s possibility to “live lighter” What has served me? What no longer does? What can serve others better and wiser and kinder? What can I give away to make more room in my life? And others benefited from what no longer served me...

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Leathery hands of a man in a shirt and suit jacket clutching the top of a weathered, wooden cane

Exercise refers to both strong and weak movements, providing it is movement that is vigorous and effects breathing, increasing it. -- Moses Maimonides, 12th-century physician and scholar

It may surprise you to learn that our tradition speaks about staying healthy and maintaining a focus on wellness. Of course, the foundation for this emphasis is not so we can run a marathon or climb Machu Pichu; rather, it relates to the idea that, created in the Divine image, we have an obligation to take care of the sacred gift of our bodies by watching how we treat them, what we do to them,...

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Two birds soaring in a bright blue sky with clouds and sunshine in the background

Life and death I have set before you, the blessing and the curse. And so choose life so that you and your seed may live! -- Deuteronomy 30:19

It’s both wonderful and deep that on Yom Kippur, the section of the Torah read in many Reform congregations commands us to choose life.

The first time I read the long confessional prayers for Yom Kippur recited by Sephardi (Jews from the Iberian Peninsula), with 20-plus sins for every letter of the alphabet, two confessions under the Hebrew letter bet...

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Woman playing the cello

For most North American Jews, Kol Nidrei surely is the single piece of liturgy that best represents Yom Kippur. This haunting melody, often played by a cellist then chanted by the cantor and choir in front of the open ark, causes all who are present to delve deeply into their heart and soul, looking for forgiveness. Indeed, the Kol Nidrei liturgy has become so intensely associated with Yom Kippur that the service itself is known throughout our Reform community as “Kol Nidrei.”

The phrase Kol Nidrei...

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