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Rabbi Audrey R. Korotkin, Ph.D.


Group of people gathered at a gravesite in a cemetery

In the wake of the horrific murders last Saturday in Pittsburgh of 11 Jews at prayer, congregations and communities across North America have gathered in sanctuaries and in parks and on street corners to mourn the victims – sharing the names of the dead as they share their own grief. Even for those who did not know the victims, the slaughter is a dagger in the heart, for each life taken so violently strikes at us all.

This is the essence of Jewish mourning: no one grieves alone.

The service of Yizkor – remembrance – originated in Europe over time as a communal response to...

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Black and white photo of Mr. Rogers putting on his jacket before leaving the set of his show. Included in the photo are lyrics to the song, "Won't You Be My Neighbor"

If you attended worship services at a Reform congregation anywhere in North America during the last month or so, chances are pretty good you heard a sermon about Mister Rogers. Rabbis all over the country were so charmed, moved, and inspired by this summer’s documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” that we found ways to weave Fred Rogers’ messages into our High Holiday sermons – in my case, all four of them.

Here’s why.

We rabbis try, in our sermons, to marry the timeless with the timely – that is, bringing to bear the enduring messages of Torah and tradition on issues that...

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Overhead shot of feet with painted arrows on the ground showing various options

The media called it the “Angelina Jolie Effect.” When the superstar actress-director went public three years ago with her decision to undergo a double prophylactic mastectomy, after discovering she carried a genetic mutation that dramatically increased her risk for breast cancer, women flooded physicians’ offices and internet sites seeking information and support.

Women’s health advocates cheered Jolie’s openness about the informed choices she had made. And women like me – Jewish women of Ashkenazic (central and eastern European) descent – finally could speak out, not just about...

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Judge's gavel, sound block, and name plate that says "ABORTION"

In the days before Roe v. Wade declared abortion a constitutional right, the symbol of women’s underground, dangerous – and persistent – efforts to obtain abortions was the simple wire coat hanger. Despite the constitutional protections in place since 1973, this gruesome symbol has recently made a troubling return to our discourse on reproductive justice.

In December, a 31-year-old Tennessee woman was arrested and charged with first-degree attempted murder for a failed “self-abortion” with a coat hanger on her 24-week-old fetus. When the woman panicked at the sight of blood, she...

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