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Man scribbling the words Americans with Disabilities Act onto glass

I am a lawyer. I graduated Harvard law school and have practiced law for major corporations and large law firms. It shouldn’t, therefore, have been much of a challenge when the Union for Reform Judaism’s Inclusion Working Group asked if I would give a talk about the law of disability discrimination and accommodation.

When I protested, having never practiced ADA law or its application to religious organization, I was gently reminded that I was not being asked to provide legal advice. Rather, I was being asked to look at the law and take lessons from...

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Two female students holding gun violence prevention signs at a march

There are lists on which teenagers belong and others on which they don’t. Teenagers dream of making the team list, cast list, recruiting list, and admissions list. If there’s one place teenagers don’t belong, though, it’s on the Mourner's Kaddish list – yet tonight marks the Sabbath before the yahrzeit for 14 youths and three adults shot to death at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, on February 14, 2018.

Among life’s...

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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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Fiddler on the Roof Yiddish

You don’t have to know mamalushen (the mother tongue) to enjoy the hit musical Fidler Afn Dakh in Yiddish. English subtitles are supplied, but getting the tam (flavor) of few key words and colorful expressions will enhance your theatrical experience – and enrich your Jewish vocabulary.

Our guide to Anatevke, a little shtetl (town) on the eve of the Russian revolution (erev der revolutsye), is Tevye der milkhiker (the milkman). He is an oreman  (poor man), who complains to Got (God...

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The author singing in Cuba

The story of the Jews of Cuba is at once tragic and triumphant. Before the 1959 revolution, 15,000 Jews lived on the island, having immigrated there from all over the world to find their fortunes in tobacco, rum, textiles, and sugar cane. They built magnificent synagogues: Beit Shalom/The Patronato Jewish Community Center, the Sephardic Synagogue, and Beit Yaakov, the Orthodox synagogue that now houses a beautiful upstairs museum sanctuary. Most of the wealthiest Jews fled to the United States before the revolution and today, the island has roughly 1,000 Jewish souls.

When Fidel...

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