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Rabbi Ruth Adar

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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

A row of lit votive candles

Temple Israel of Alameda in Alameda, CA, was vandalized last week. Someone came by during the night Wednesday and broke two windows, and tried to break the glass doors of the synagogue with rocks. In the wake of the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, this was even more upsetting than it would normally be to local Jews.

Temple Israel is a small synagogue of only about 100 households. They have a part-time rabbi. They are about 15 minutes from my home, so I planned to get myself over there for Friday evening services to show solidarity with the congregation. Then the...

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Feet and ankles of a person lying in a hammock

Shabbat is a radical, transformative idea.

In the ancient world, there were no weekends; most people worked seven days a week. Even those who lived more leisurely lives, like Pharaoh or the Mesopotamian rulers, had rigid roles to carry out and from which there was no break.

Then along came the Jews, with our peculiar creation story. Unlike any other creation narrative, ours begins as follows:

When God began to create heaven and earth – the earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water— God said...

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