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Group of high schoolers standing in front of a large colorful mural

Teacher: “Class, what’s the definition of Zionism?”

Students, in unison: “Zionism is the aspiration of the Jewish people to build a Jewish democratic state in Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel)!”

High schoolers in the URJ Heller High study-abroad program in Israel quickly gain an understanding that Zionism is the founding ideology of the State of Israel. Next, it’s time that we take class outside and see this in action.

Going on tiyulim (trips) to understand Zionism allows us to see that the goal of having a Jewish state is...

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Silhouette of a pregnant person against a brightly colored sunset

Back in December of 2018, on a Friday evening service, a congregant came over immediately after services ended and said to me, “You always sing better when you are pregnant.” I smiled at her gently; she didn’t know she had given me the ultimate compliment.

You see, singing during pregnancy is not without challenges, to say the least. Our bodies go through an amazing transformation during pregnancy, and many of them affect the voice.

Hormonal changes can affect the voice’s tone and quality; a growing baby puts pressure in different areas, sometimes creating back pain,...

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Hands holding a glowing globe

Editor's note: The text that follows was presented before a live audience at the 2019 Union for Reform Judaism Biennial.

Only a few short years after the founding of the United States of America, George Washington expressed in an exchange of letters with the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, R.I., the oldest synagogue in the United States, the following historic sentiment:

“For happily the Government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its...

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Isaac Herzog standing at a podium addressing the URJ Biennial

Editor's note: The text that follows was adapted from an address that was presented before a live audience at the 2019 Union for Reform Judaism Biennial on Thursday, Dec. 12. Read the full address here.

Many of my fellow Israelis respect the Reform Movement but simply don't know that there is much more ahavat Israel than people understand. Day in and day out, I tell them: It is our duty to uplift it.

I say to these Israelis: Every day I read...

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Womans hands holding a mug

I figured it out. The word I wrestle with and struggle to explain to disagreeing friends. The concept that brings out my anger, frustration, and vulnerability. Seven letters that lean on assumptions and pre-judgment.


Living in Chicago for decades now, when I’m away from here and am asked where I’m from, I hear myself consistently answering: “Originally from New York, but now in Chicago.”

I do that for two reasons: One, New York (and specifically Long Beach) is ever in my heart and soul. Two, I’m defending against the real possibility that someone might...

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