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Editor's Note: This piece was originally published on March 17, 2013.

On a recent trip to Jerusalem, my son decided that his favorite color was gold. Whenever he’s asked why, he replies with a wry smile befitting a 5-year-old.

“Jerusalem is the city of gold, of course,” he says.

When we told him our family was moving to Israel this summer, he was quite pleased.

“Ima, will we live there until I’m a grown-up?” he asked.

That’s the idea, we nodded.

While I know what my family will mean when we reach the end of the Passover...

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Red heart balloon rising into a blue sky over treetops

The COVID-19 crisis has brought out the best and the worst in humanity.

On the one hand, doctors, nurses, and hospital aides are risking their lives every day by caring for the sick. On the other hand, some selfish people are hoarding essential supplies and even profiteering. We can pray that they may regain a sense of responsibility toward others.

I’ve recently seen two scenes on television that have stayed with me: One testifies to the goodness of people; the other testifies to the selfishness of people.

The first pictures...

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Closeup of a seder plate and a table setting

Each year on Passover, we ask “Mah nishtanah,” “Why is this night different?” This year, though, we know why: Pesach 5780 is simply unlike any other.

As the global pandemic of COVID-19 changes life on planet Earth, there is simply no way that our holiday observance could resemble years past. Physical distancing, sheltering-in-place, and pervasive fears are significant obstacles to making Pesach happen at all, let alone embracing it as a time of joy and renewal.

But we are a resilient and imaginative community....

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White headphones around a plastic heart against a bright blue background

The writer and philosopher Aldous Huxley once wrote, “After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” For many of us, words seem inadequate to describe how we are feeling at this very moment. It is music that can carry us, support us, and hold out the possibility of hope and a better future.

Take a listen to this playlist of music, curated for this moment, as it lifts you, holds you, and may just make you laugh. 

For a closer look at one of the tunes on this list,...

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Woman holding a mug and looking out a large window during sunrise

In Parashat Tzav, we read, in minute detail, of the priests’ tasks to keep the flame on the altar burning day and night. That fire was central to the spiritual life of the community.

Through their burnt offerings the Israelites drew near to God at times of transition or vulnerability. To do so, they depended on the priests to keep the altar clean and the fire burning.

In the world of Leviticus, God’s presence resided with the community, at the center of its camp, in the Ohel Mo’ed – the tent of meeting, a...

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