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Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs


We Jews are incredibly proud of our Torah, but we never claim it as history’s first code of law. We do, however, claim that Torah was the first code to grant equal protection under the law to non-citizens: “You shall not oppress the stranger for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

We find the roots of this most-frequent commandment, which appears 36 times in the Torah, in the stories about Abraham, the man our tradition considers to be the first Jew. In an effort to help us work with God to create a more just, caring, and compassionate world, God made a covenant with Abraham...

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It seems to me that it should always be cold at Auschwitz, the sky always a dreary gray.

Unless it is a very hot day, I am always cold; I’ve always been that way. And so more than the other horrible sufferings people endured or succumbed to at Auschwitz, I think of the cold – of the thin pieces of rag that inmates wore, their often-bare feet providing no shield against the brutal Polish winter.

It was not cold by normal standards when my wife and I visited Auschwitz, but knowing my usual preclusions, I vowed not to be cold. I wore long johns, a knit cap, gloves, and four...

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Last year, I was privileged to conduct the first Jewish service since 1938 in the northern German city of Friedrichsstadt. In the interim, to my joy, there have been several Jewish cultural and religious events in Friedrichsstadt, including the bat mitzvah of Laura Wendt, a young woman from Denmark, in a service led by my colleague, Rabiner Dr. Walter Rothschild.

Much credit for the “heavy lifting” necessary to replant Jewish life in this town belongs to Horst (Ephraim) and Rita (Devorah) Blunk, whom I first met in 2014 during adult education sessions and services that I conducted...

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As the summer passes its midway point, rabbis begin to think seriously about the coming Days of Awe. We know that Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur provide us the largest congregations we are likely to see during the year.

It is a humbling and daunting task to attempt to craft messages that will resonate with those who come to worship.

Our hopes are high. We spend hours preparing what we hope might be life-changing messages.

And yet, realistically, we know that the meaning the season of repentance will have for individual Jews depends more on what each of us is willing...

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Whether you prefer the 1843 book or any of the many movie versions made since, there is no question that Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a classic.

Now, despite the season for which Dickens wrote it, A Christmas Carol is a Yom Kippur story if there ever was one.

As a small child, I lived to hear Ebenezer Scrooge say, “Bah! Humbug!”  Only when I was a bit older did I start to appreciate the drama that unfolds after the first commercial.

Scrooge spends a restless night marked by four fateful encounters. The first is with the ghost of his dead business partner...

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