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Black and white photo of people working the land on an early kibbutz

Mah Nishtanah! As Passover, we ask, "How is this night different than all other nights?"

Well, yesterday Israelis went to the ballot boxes, and today we know the outcome. One’s answer to this age-old Jewish question, as applied to today’s current events, is obviously connected to where you see the best hope for Israel’s future.

Because I am writing this piece before the elections, I best stick to topics that are more predictable in the calendar of Jews in Israel and around the world. As one popular Hebrew song says, “...

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Smiling young man outdoors wearing a kippah and a plaid shirt

I’ve lived a fantastic life. I come from a wonderful family, and I’ve had the opportunity to travel all around the world. I’ve danced the cobbled streets of Prague, welcomed the new year with Army buddies in London, and sat on southern porches surrounded by family and love. I’ve also had my heart broken, served in Iraq, and survived some of the most heinous kinds of childhood trauma.

People often comment that they’re amazed at who I am in the Jewish community. They’re shocked that I found Judaism despite being raised by Christians, being Black, and inheriting the memory of Jim Crow...

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Art installation of shoes along the Danube in memory of Jews killed in Budapest, Hungary, in World War II

April 7, 1944. Erev Passover. For the first time since the beginning of World War II, Hungarian Jews were forced to wear the yellow star. Until then, they’d been largely spared from the lunacy of the Final Solution. But that had changed on March 19, when Germany occupied its ally Hungary, setting the stage for the largest and most expeditious killing tirade of the Holocaust.

There will surely be many 75th anniversary commemorations of World War II in the coming months. But what happened in...

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Closeup aerial view of a mans hand holding a black trash bag in a kitchen

Cleaning guru Marie Kondo and her KonMari method are all the rage, inspired by her 2014 book and new Netflix series. In both, Kondo teaches us to organize our stuff and toss what we don’t need, using a method centered around inventorying everything we own and getting rid of anything that doesn’t serve a purpose or “spark joy.”

To me, the entire process feels a bit reminiscent of cleaning for...

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Pink and white blossoms on tree branches

In the past few weeks, my mom has lost two of her dearest friends: her 92-year-old neighbor, Norman, with whom she attended symphony concerts, synagogue services, and weekly dinners, and a beautiful, brilliant, and unfailingly kind 98-year-old Holocaust survivor, Bronia, with whom she spoke by phone every day.

I’ve been trying to think of ways to cheer her up and bring her some measure of comfort. If I could, I’d snap my fingers and usher her into a Shabbat service sure to make her face light up: a “three-Torah Shabbat...

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