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Rabbi Lisa Sari Bellows


Medieval Sephardic synagogue in Castelo de Vide, Portugal

What do dates, pomegranates, apples, spinach, squash, pumpkin, beets, scallions, and maybe even, the cheek meat of a fish have to do with Rosh HaShanah? 

They are all part of the traditional Rosh HaShanah seder, which begins the festive holiday meal for Sephardic Jews. A seder, an order, to the start of the Rosh HaShanah meal? Yes!

The seder custom originated as a play on words. The Hebrew name for each food of the seder relates either to Hebrew words that express our desire to be blessed with a sweet New Year or to the Hebrew phrase y’hi ratzon (may it be Your will) as it...

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Martin Luther King statue

On a hot summer August day in 1966, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stepped out of his car and was greeted by a mob of 700 angry white protesters in Marquette Park on Chicago’s southwest side. Shortly after he stepped forward to greet that mob, he was pelted with a rock on the side of the head, the force strong enough to bring him to the ground. Undeterred, Dr. King rose up and continued his nonviolent direct-action call for an end to inequality and hate.

Later that afternoon he addressed the media and recalled, “This is a terrible thing. I’ve been in many demonstrations all across...

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