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Rabbi Melissa Zalkin Stollman

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The author and a songleader lead morning services from the front of an outdoor bimah

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Exodus 3:5

As I sit on the porch of my cabin, feeling the breeze pass by as the wind chime clinks, I reflect on my time at URJ Kutz Camp so far. Friends and congregants often ask, “Why do you go to the Kutz during the summer?” Located in Warwick, N.Y., it is far away from my home in Florida and is only for teens aspiring to lead or create in some way. Serving as a returning faculty member, especially this year in particular, is more than just a chance for me to teach...

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Group of students from Florida wearing MSD Strong shirts

Every other month, I write a column in our community magazine, The Parklander. This month, the subject of the article is “How far should forgiveness go?” What a tough question in light of all that has taken place during the past month in my hometown of Parkland, FL, just a mile down the road from my congregation.

I am angry. I am hurt. I am scared. I am exhausted. And, I feel helpless. How could I possibly answer this question as myself or as a communal leader?

I don’t even know where to begin in terms of forgiveness.

Do I forgive the shooter because of his mental...

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As the working mom of three kids, a five-year-old and two-and-a-half-year-old twins, most of my week-day mornings go something like this:

6:30 a.m. - I’m awakened with three yells of “Mom!!” and two kids running into the room. We spend the next hour hanging out together, playing, and watching television.  Toward the end of the hour I attempt, repeatedly, to get the twins’ diapers changed and get everyone dressed. I’m only somewhat successful.

8 a.m. - I prepare and serve breakfast to at least two children. The third is running around the house or hiding in an attempt to...

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