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Rabbi Ruth Adar

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The author on her scooter carrying a Torah scroll

I grew up in a family where illness of any kind was regarded as weakness, a moral flaw, or both. My mother had a major stroke when she was 40 and I was 16. My father insisted we keep her stroke secret from everyone outside the family for months. I chauffeured my four brothers and sisters, cooked, did laundry, and lied to my teachers about why my homework was never done. Dad never explained why it was a secret, just that we must not tell a soul.

I learned, therefore, to be secretive and ashamed of any problem with my body. So it was that in my 47th year, I had quite a shock. When I...

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Empty plate, clean cloth napkin, knife and fork arranged on wooden background

There are numerous reasons you may not be able to fast on Yom Kippur: maybe you’re pregnant, you’re a diabetic, you have an eating disorder, or you have medications that must be taken with food.

First of all, thank you for taking care of your body, which is a mitzvah. The Hebrew word for it is “Lishmor HaGuf” (to guard the body), and it is just as important a mitzvah as any other, including the Yom Kippur fast.

When fasting is not feasible, here are some other ways to observe Yom Kippur.

Eat precisely.

What I mean by this directive is to eat exactly what you are...

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Young person praying intently at the Western Wall in Jerusalem

If you use a Jewish calendar, you may have noticed this notation last week on June 30: “Tzom Tammuz.” The phrase translates to “Fast of Tammuz” which isn’t terribly enlightening, so I thought you might like to have a bit more information.

Soon, beginning in the evening on July 21 and continuing throughout the day on July 22, we will observe the somber day known as Tishah B’Av (literally, the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av). The day is set aside to remember the destruction of the Second Temple along with other disasters in Jewish history. Tzom Tammuz is a dawn-to-dusk fast that is...

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Bedside table with an alarm clock flowers and a mug of tea

The flu is widespread, across 49 US states right now. Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that’s the first time that’s happened in their 13 years of tracking the flu.  – IFLScience.com

We are in the midst of a remarkably nasty flu season right now. It has not reached pandemic levels, but we are still in the midst of flu season. This flu is killing not only infants and the elderly (as if that wasn’t bad enough) it seems to be particularly hard on baby-boomers, too.

Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose,...

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017 was Reform CA Lobby Day, a project of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. 100 social justice activists and organizers from Reform congregations all over California converged on the state capitol to advocate for justice in our state.  We had four goals:

To connect with one another and Reform CA To present ourselves powerfully to President Pro Tempore of the California State Senate, Kevin de León To train in lobbying and political action, first by learning and then by doing To help pass our two priority bills: California Values Act (SB... Read More

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