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Cantor Jacqueline L. Marx

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Close-up of violin being played

Music has the power to bring people together. One piece, “Bridal March” from Richard Wagner’s opera “Lohengrin” (known in the vernacular as “Here Comes the Bride”), brings modern Jewish brides together in a unique way: Except for The Nanny’sfictional Fran Fine, few use it as the music for their procession down the aisle.

Wagner was a virulent anti-Semite who trumpeted his hatred for Jews through inflammatory, vitriolic letters. His notorious musical-dramatic portrayals of Norse characters as unflattering Jewish stereotypes abound, as in the gold-hungry Alberich of “Das Rheingold...

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Bullhorn with soft, colorful bubbles coming out of it

Planning our congregation’s erev Rosh HaShanah service, my rabbi shared with me thoughts about the sermon he was preparing. His ideas for it grew from the summer’s tragedies in Charlottesville, in whose wake a group of rabbis had discussed what they wanted to talk about that night.

As it turned out, they all had the same notion in mind: breaking the silence about such things as the downturn in healthcare policy; civil rights that didn’t reach a point of civility; welcoming the stranger; and the like. The rabbis decided to build a collective d’var Torah (word of Torah) in a “sermon...

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kids in white shirts viewed from the back

Author Helen Fine’s 1961 At Camp Kee Tov takes (mostly) young readers to an eponymous summer camp much like any of the Reform community’s summer camps, except that its name changes annually, thanks to a contest open to all its campers. Twins Marsha and Michael Ross, camp first-timers, submit the winning name, Kee Tov, at the beginning of the summer. They chose the name from the first chapter of Genesis, in which, as God completes various stages of the world’s creation, we read several times, “va-yar Elohim kee tov” (“and God saw that it was it good”).

The twins’ victory is heralded...

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“After these things, the word of the Eternal came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Have no fear, Abram; I am giving you an abundant reward as a gift.’ Abram then replied, ‘Eternal God, what can You give me, when I am going [to die] childless, and the heir to my household is Damascene Eliezer?’ Abram added, ‘Look, to me You have given no offspring, and one of my slaves [Eliezer] is my heir!’ But the Eternal One’s word to him was, ‘That one shall not be your heir; rather, one who comes from your own body – he shall be your heir!’” 

Genesis 15:1-4

Eloheinu v’Elohei avoteinu v’...

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