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Rabbi Marc J. Rosenstein

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String of different types of lights outdoors in the dark

When Adam saw that the days were getting shorter and shorter, he said, “Woe is me that because of my sins the world is returning to darkness, to chaos…” He spent eight days in fasting and prayer – until the solstice had passed – and when he saw the days lengthening he realized that this is just the cycle of nature, and celebrated with an eight-day festival.

Babylonian Talmud Avodah Zarah 8a

In the early 1990s, the city of Haifa instituted an annual cultural event, “Festival of Festivals,” now held every December to celebrate Jewish, Christian, and Muslim holidays falling...

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To choose life is to choose to see the complexity of the situation here. To learn, of necessity, to defend one’s life, but also to see the distress and extend a helping hand... Life here will be possible only if we stop blaming each other and stop being victims. We all need to overcome and to take responsibility and start working hard for the sake of life here.

Michal Froman, “March of Hope” rally, Jerusalem, October 19, 2016

During Sukkot, Tami and I decided to join the culminating segment of the “March of Hope,” a two-week series of local marches around the country,...

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As I see them from the mountain tops, gaze on them from the heights, there is a people that dwells apart, not reckoned among the nations. -- Numbers 23:9

The synagogue at Shorashim faces south – toward Jerusalem. As a creature of habit, I have sat in the same place for 26 years, along the windows on the west wall. The view is across the lawn and playground of Shorashim, over the Hilazon Valley and the Arab village of Shaab on the other side, out to Haifa Bay. In the course of those 26 years, the landscaping here has matured and the trees have grown, so that I just noticed that...

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Antigonos of Socho… used to say: “Be not like servants who minister to their master upon the condition of receiving a reward, but be like servants who minister to their master without the condition of receiving a reward.”

- Mishnah, Avot 1:3

Recently, I was riding the train north from Tel Aviv when a group of about a dozen teenagers boarded, wearing Mada uniforms and bearing backpacks or roll-ons. “Mada” is the acronym for Magen David Adom, Red Star of David, the Israeli Red Cross.

Many kids serve as Mada volunteers during high school, either out of inner motivation...

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Every city where Jews live must set up tzedakah collectors, respected and reliable persons who go through the community every week and collect from each one what is appropriate for them to give, what has been determined for them; and they distribute the funds in the course of the week, a week’s allowance for each needy recipient…. And we have never heard of or seen a Jewish community that does not have a tzedakah fund…

Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Laws of Gifts for the Poor, 9:1, 3

When we made aliyah in 1990, arriving at Shorashim, the community was a moshav sheetufi, a...

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