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Closeup of piano keys

On the night of January 21, 2005, a drunk driver paralyzed me. I was 21 and just starting my music career.

I remember only two things from those first moments: the acrid smell of an exploded airbag and the desperate confusion as I tried and failed to move my legs. What happened? I remember thinking. Why can’t I move? Why am I like this? What’s wrong with my body? It doesn’t work anymore! Help me! Somebody, please help! Help me!

I had suffered an incomplete spinal cord injury, along with a punctured lung, lacerated spleen, facial laceration, and eight broken ribs.

My...

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Mattan Berner-Kadish, Mechina alumnus

Mechina, a post-high-school, gap-year program offered by the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, seeks to nurture the next generation of young Israelis to reflect both Jewish and democratic values in all their endeavors. Seventy-five young men and women participate annually in leadership training, enrichment, and tikkun olam (repair of the world) volunteer experiences in which they work with underprivileged populations – migrant workers, refugees, Arab-...

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Vote buttons, streamers, and confetti, all in red, white, and blue

Desire for a better, more just, more peaceful world is a universal aspiration that crosses all lines of difference. None of my friends wants their children to grow up surrounded by the bitterness and violence and exclusivity that is the current national and international climate. We talk about it among our peers, we hear about it from the pulpit, we read about it on social media. But moving from desire for a better world to actually living in a better world is tricky. It requires thought, plans, ideas, and ultimately action.

Action gets us – individuals, communities, and the entire...

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Closeup of a mans hand checking boxes as if filling out a ballot

Vote Because it’s a mitzvah to do Vote Because you’re an American Jew Vote Because it’s your civic duty Vote To bring the world more values, more beauty Vote Because you’ll be guiding the nation Vote Because not voting is an abdication Vote Because more important than your chatter Vote You’re representing values that really matter Vote For our Jewish values that encompass Vote Torah’s call for chesed (kindness), rachamim (compassion) and tzedek (justice) Vote Do not be numb Vote Because it’s part of tikkun olam Vote (Especially if you’re a thirty- or twenty-something) Vote (Because yes,...

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Wooden blocks that spell truth in red letters

Jewish tradition emphasizes the importance of telling the truth, but not always.

“Sometimes it is necessary to deviate from the truth,” argued Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler (1892-1953), “such as when the truth will not help but will cause injury.”

Consider this Talmudic story:

A sage named Rav Tavut would not lie even if given all the possessions in the world. One day he came to a place named Qushta [“truth” in Aramaic], where the residents did not “modify their words” [lie] and no one died prematurely. He married a woman who had two sons. One day his wife was sitting and...

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