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Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs

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Moses in a reed basket

It’s a recurring biblical pattern: Time and again, it’s the woman who “gets it” and the man who does not.

There is much we can learn from these women, starting with Eve.

For millennia, people have blamed Eve for the so-called fall of man, but really, she is the heroine of the elevation of humanity. It was Eve, not Adam, who perceived that life in Eden, while idyllic, was sterile and essentially without meaning. It was Eve who saw “how desirable the insight was that the tree [of knowledge] would bring, [so] she took some of its fruit and ate…” (Genesis 3:6)

Later, in...

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With all my heart, I believe God chooses specific individuals for specific tasks.

I believe God chose Abraham to begin the journey that created the Jewish people. I believe God chose Moses to lead us out of Egypt. I believe God chose William Harvey to teach humanity about the circulation of blood, and I believe God chose the Wright brothers to inaugurate the era of aviation. I believe God chose Abraham Lincoln to end slavery in the United States, and I believe God chose Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to make the dream of racial equality more of a reality in our society.

If...

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V’she-nahn tam l’vah-neh-cha, “You shall teach them diligently to your children.” (Deuteronomy 6:7)

We pray these words as part of the Sh’ma, the central affirmation of the Jewish people’s faith. These words are part of the first prayer I learned to read in Hebrew as a child, and they hang beautifully needlepointed in Hebrew just inside the entrance to our home.

In everything we do, our children learn from us.

In everything we do and with all of our decisions, actions, and priorities, we need to ask ourselves: “What are we teaching our children?”

Last month...

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For nearly half a century, Elie Wiesel has been an inspirational beacon of our people’s most precious values.

I first saw Wiesel speak in 1968, when he was a 40 year-old activist on behalf of Soviet Jewry. I had just finished my undergraduate thesis on “The Jews of the Soviet Union Since the End of World War II.” Wiesel’s book, The Jews of Silence was a primary source of my research.

Fifteen years later in Baltimore, I gave the invocation at an event where I again heard Wiesel speak. I treasure the fact that he complimented me on my presentation, and he said something that...

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I consider Stefanie Steinberg’s “Joseph Brothers Bowing Before Him” a masterpiece. I hung it with pride in my office for 25 years, and now it hangs in my family’s home.

Stefanie is my mother-in-law. At age 94, she is still an active artist.

She is also the subject of a magnificent exhibition conceived and curated by Pastor Ursula Sieg of Bad Segeberg, Germany. The exhibit is about Stefanie’s life and travels from Breslau, where she was born, to San Francisco, CA, where she lives today.

In this week’s Torah portion, parashat Mikeitz, Joseph rises from the dungeon to...

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