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Cantor Evan Kent

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Dried fruits in the supermarket in Jerusalem

It’s been a rough winter in Jerusalem: cold, windy, rainy. And although winter is Jerusalem isn’t as severe as the winters in New York, Boston, Chicago, or Minneapolis, there is something about Jerusalem that makes the rainy, windy winters feel more miserable than they actually are.

Maybe it’s the slippery stone sidewalks that run around the city. Or perhaps it’s that so many of Jerusalem’s homes are poorly insulated. Possibly, it could be that we who live in Jerusalem are used to nine months of glorious weather and the brief winter months, by comparison, seem unduly harsh....

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A tray of fancy soufganiyot in Israel

Every 10 days, I get my hair cut. I don’t have much hair, and if I wanted to, I probably could do it myself. But instead of trying to see the back of my head in the bathroom mirror like a contortionist, I go to Daniel who owns a small barbershop on Azza Street – a five-minute walk from our apartment. 

It takes Daniel literally eight minutes to cut my hair – but we spend about half an hour together. Daniel understands just a bit of English, so we talk in Hebrew. He’s patient with my semi-fluent Hebrew and is pleased when he can correct me and introduce me to new words – such as “...

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Pile of rugelach

For the past few years, a couple of times a year, I gather on a pre-arranged Friday morning to bake in my kitchen in Jerusalem with two special friends: Rabbi Hara Person and Noga Tarnopolsky. Hara is the chief executive of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the professional organization of the North American rabbinate, and Noga is a well-respected journalist who currently writes about Israel and the Middle East for the Los Angeles Times.

Once we baked a variety of challot (plural of challah). Last year we made babka. And just a few weeks ago, we made hundreds of rugelach...

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Golden retriever and gray and white cat lying next to each other on the floor

Before making aliyah (moving to Israel to live permanently) six years ago, my husband, Rabbi Donald Goor, was the senior rabbi at Temple Judea in Tarzana, CA, and I was the cantor at Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles, CA. As a two-clergy couple, we faced our share of challenges – every Shabbat. In Don’s congregation, Friday night services began at 8 p.m., and in mine, they usually began at 6:15 p.m., which meant we rarely celebrated Shabbat together.

Although our cats – Toolie the octogenarian, and Merlin, whom we’d adopted in the hopes of giving Toolie a little spring in her step –...

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The author (holding guitar) and his husband (with shofar) at High Holiday services in Milan

When people learn that my husband Don and I live in Jerusalem, invariably among the first questions they ask is about the High Holidays. “I’ve often dreamt of being there for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. What’s it like?”

I can’t tell you much about the High Holidays in Israel, actually. Although we made aliyah (moved to Israel) six years ago, we’ve only spent one Yamim Nora-im (Days of Awe) in Jerusalem. And I don’t recall much about those holidays except that Yom Kippur was possibly the hottest day of that year. After beautiful t’filah (worship) in the morning at Hebrew Union...

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