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In the foreground, a digitized image of a double helix in various shades of pink and magenta

When I was in my late 20s, I visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. I was prepared to be moved, disturbed, and even frightened by what I would encounter there. After all, my father and his parents and grandmother escaped Berlin in 1941, a fact that has hung over our family’s history like a veil. But the thing that stood out for me so powerfully during that visit was how much the faces of the European Jews looked just like me.

Genetics is a strange thing. We inherit our hair color, our height, our dimples from our ancestors. I inherited my deep brown...

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A group of friends eating a casual dinner together

Although I have been living in Jerusalem since August, only in this past week has my schedule achieved some semblance of normalcy. This is because the fall holidays do not simply affect one day at a time in Israel, rather they impact entire weeks.

There are plenty of similarities in religious observances for Jews around the world – on Rosh HaShanah we eat apples and honey, on Yom Kippur we fast, on...

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Baby lying on her back with feet toward the camera

Kids ask questions. A lot of questions. My 1-year-old daughter hasn’t entered the inquisitive phase yet, but she will. I can already see it in her impish grin, her mischievous giggle, and the way she instinctively crawls toward things in the house that she’s not supposed to crawl toward. This kid is a challenger, a questioner, and a seeker of truth.

My wife and I have made a commitment to raising her in the Reform Jewish tradition and having her attend preschool at Shaaray Tefila, become a...

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Pair of hands holding two puzzle pieces

When I was a college freshman, I began embracing Judaism to reconnect to my Jewish ancestry. Although I was raised as a Christian, I come from a multi-ethnic background, which includes German-Jewish heritage. I found great joy in learning about Jewish culture, enjoying food and song over Kabbalat Shabbat, and bonding with my peers at Hillel. But despite my love of Judaism’s cultural and communal aspects, I couldn’t bring myself to fully acknowledge God.

I couldn’t get over the seemingly paradoxical nature of a loving...

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Small flat gift wrapped in light pink paper and decorated with a homemade bow and handmade card; pink and white ribbons and small cut-out hearts are in the background

February 13, 2017 – a day I’ll never forget. The day my life changed forever. I was completely taken by surprise as I became a member of a club in which I had no interest. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I heard words like “invasive,” “aggressive,” and “chemo.” I will never forget those moments.

I went through a year long treatment – chemo, surgery, and radiation. While the cancer was killed early on, I had a full year of treatment because of its aggressive nature, lest “one of those little suckers got away from us.” The treatment was brutal and for the first time in my life, I...

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