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Jane E. Herman

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Matzah brei with green onion garnish on a plate

With Passover coming up this week, housecleaning, matzah-ball making, and other essential preparations are well underway in many Jewish households. Much of the work is intensely physical, requiring that we bend and sweep, scrub and vacuum to find and remove every bit of chametz (wheat, barley, rye, oats, or spelt) from our homes. The rabbis of the Talmud were, you’ll pardon the pun, smart cookies and understood well that the physical experience of preparing for the week-long holiday might (and, they hoped, would) trigger thoughts about the Jewish values inherent in observing Passover....

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Firefighter from behind climbing steps to a building in a raging fire

As wildfires continue to ravage northern California, the Carr fire in Shasta County has destroyed the homes of at least four families from Temple Beth Israel in Redding, CA. Another family’s home has suffered significant fire and smoke damage, and many members remain displaced.

Among the most destructive in the state’s history, the fire has killed seven people since it began on July 23. Our prayers are with those in harm’s way, including the first responders who are putting their own lives in danger to help others.

Temple Beth Israel is in the evacuation zone and its Torah...

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Canadian flag flying in the breeze

This Sunday, July 1, is Canada Day, a national holiday that celebrates the history, culture, and achievements of Canada and its citizens. In that spirit, we’ve rounded up blog posts, interviews, and stories by and about Canadians and Canada – all with a Jewish twist.  

1. Read about how Canada is leading the way.

With passage of the country’s Civil Marriage Act in 2005, Canada became the first country outside Europe (and the fourth in the world) to legalize marriage equality. Two years later, on May 22, 2007 in Toronto, Harvey Brownstone, the first openly gay judge in Canada,...

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Gravestones with American flags in front of each one

Although Memorial Day – which Americans will observe this Monday – is not a Jewish holiday, the idea of remembering and honoring those who died in service to our nation is certainly a Jewish value. With that idea in mind, we’ve rounded up these stories and prayers to share with you ahead of the long holiday weekend.

1. 5 Jewish Readings for Memorial Day

Including both ancient and contemporary texts, this compilation of prayers and readings offers a selection to enrich your holiday observance.

2. Why I Serve in the Military

Although the two never met, Aaron Rozovsky shares...

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Young boy holding Israeli flag

This week Jews around the world will celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day. Here are five ways you can celebrate the holiday with young children.

Read picture books about Israel to learn about Israeli culture, famous places, what to expect when visiting. Ella’s Trip to Israel, Good Night Israel, and It’s Israel’s Birthday are among many books available. Play with toys that are blue and white. For example, ask kids to pick out all the blue and white blocks or Legos from a set and use those to build a tower or a wall. Bounce, kick, roll, and play with blue and white beach... Read More

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