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Cantor Evan Kent

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Sunday is a strange day here in Jerusalem. In Israel, it’s “Yom Rishon,” the first day of the week and we all go to work and to school. On Sunday, after the rest Shabbat affords us, we resume our everydayness – even as the rest of the world is still in weekend mode.

For those who do a lot of correspondence or business with North America, as I do, Sunday is a relatively quiet day. Nothing much ever happens on Sunday, giving me a chance to catch up on email and run a lot of errands.

Two weeks ago on Sunday I went to the market, the dry cleaner, picked up cat food, ran to the...

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American flag in background; fireworks in foreground

When I was growing up on Long Island, the phrase “Independence Day” was nothing more than two words strung together – with little understanding that America had fought for this independence, that the nation’s founders had crafted a declaration espousing what this independence would mean for this nation, and that the sacrifices our revolutionary ancestors made for this independence helped to cement the freedoms we as 20th-century Americans enjoyed.

As an adult, these seasonal memories seem so simple, innocent, and carefree. And now, living in Jerusalem, Israel, these same memories...

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Three blintzes on a plate garnished with peach slices and a dollop of sour cream

When you marry someone, you not only get a spouse, you also get another family. When I married my husband, Rabbi Donald Goor, I inherited his mother and father, his siblings, their children. I even inherited his grandmother: Jeannette Multer. Jeannette wasn’t “Nana” or “Bubbie” or “Safta” or “Gramma.” She was “Grandmother.” Grandmother. And the properness of “Grandmother” embodied who she was: exacting, precise, and at times a bit rigid.

But Grandmother was also a voracious reader (she had once owned a bookstore), an astute student of politics and world affairs, a lifelong,...

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Watermelon halves on display in Israeli market

Jerusalem’s large outdoor market – Machane Yehuda – serves as my calendar for the cycle of holidays in the Jewish and Israeli year. As I write this piece, in the days following Passover, the shuk starts to reveal Israel’s summer bounty: piles of dark green avocados, mountains of thorny purple artichokes, magenta plums, and burgundy cherries all start parading through the market.

But here in Israel nothing announces summer as boldly as the seemingly sudden appearance of barbecues in the shuk and in the supermarket. And these barbecues come in a variety of shapes and sizes: permanent...

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Plate of hamantaschen with different fillings

I’m in Machane Yehuda – the big shuk or market in Jerusalem – just like I am every week. The “oznei Haman” have arrived. In Israel, hamantaschen are called “Haman’s ears” and with a bit of imagination, I can almost make sense of that. Every year, I wander from bakery to bakery during the weeks preceding Purim, and I end up carbohydratedly disappointed. My search for the hamantaschen of my youth are nowhere to be found.

The bakeries in Jerusalem, and especially in the shuk, make amazing hamantaschen. You want hamantaschen filled with halvah? We have that. Chocolate dough...

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