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Rabbi Reuven Greenvald

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Silver Star of David and hamsa charm

By now the English word “quarantine” has unfortunately spiked the usage charts across the media. From Italian, meaning “40 days,” the word is scary in an impersonal, aseptic way.

Compare it to the modern Hebrew word for the same response to an infectious disease, biddud, from the three-letter root that can means “being alone.” The word biddud perhaps carries more psychological fear of being isolated during this health crisis.

Whatever the word, we are fortunate to live in a time when connectedness can be achieved across time and space – and that’s what will get us through...

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Klal Group Picture

“…this first week together was already so enriching for me with all the new thoughts that all of you have put in my mind. I am really glad to be part of this cohort. I am looking forward to our projects and to the next meeting in Israel very soon.”

-- Alexandra Nozik, 26, an emerging leader in TAMAR in Germany

Alexandra Nozik and 12 other young Reform Jews from around the world spent the last day of 2019 at URJ Camp Coleman in Cleveland, GA, where they heard from Director Bobby Harris about his vision for Reform Jewish camping. Their visit was the first of three different...

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Shiny, colorful decorations strung in a sukkah

Unlike Purim, Hanukkah, Passover, and Rosh HaShanah, Sukkot is not among the Jewish holidays celebrated outside religious communities in Israel.

For the majority of Israelis – called chiloni or “secular” in Israel – Sukkot means a week off from school and thus is a good time for family vacations. In certain neighborhoods, leafy, decorated sukkot (huts) add beautiful color to yards and even apartment balconies, provided the balconies offer views of the sky through the sukkahs’ loosely placed roof covering, known as s’chach.

Indicative of Sukkot’s lack of popularity is the...

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Smiling group of young leaders standing on a balcony together

Arthur Hatchuel created a community garden and Jewish environmental programs in Paris. Tamar Paley re-imagined the mikvah (ritual bath) for Progressive Jews in Israel. Alyssa Kress elevated Israel engagement at URJ Camp Harlam.

All three are alumni of the URJ Klal Yisrael Fellowship, an international program funded through generous grants by Betty and Arthur Roswell (Bridgewater, N.J.) since its launch in 2014.

To date, the fellowship has brought together 76 Reform Jewish adults, ages 21-30, from Argentina, Belarus, Canada, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Israel,...

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The author with Israeli poet Adi Keissar

“I am the mizrachi Jew you don’t know!” writes 38-year-old Adi Keissar – the Israeli poet who’s leading a movement to open up Israel’s poetry and cultural scene to the heritages that Jews brought from their Middle Eastern and North African backgrounds. While we wait eagerly for Adi Keissar to find the right venue to share her poetry in English translation, the work that she and her colleagues are doing needs to be shared now in the North American Jewish community, which a research report recently revealed has been undercounting Jews of color in demographic studies.

Keissar was born...

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