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Closeup of a police siren in the dark with colorful but blurry lights  in the distance

At least 17 people are dead and more injured in a horrific shooting Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. Once again, in the wake of senseless and devastating gun violence, we mourn, we come together, we offer words of condolence – and we ask how we can prevent these tragedies from happening again.

Says Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, in a statement from the Reform Movement issued...

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Young woman looking back over her shoulder and smiling

I had the opportunity to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem on my first trip to Israel through the Reform Movement’s Sci-Tech Israel program. Jerusalem was one of the most anticipated stops on our tour of numerous factories and tech-startups located throughout the nation. My soul was swelling with excitement; I knew I was footsteps away from a place I had merely visited in childhood daydreams. As I walked through the women’s courtyard for the very first time, I noticed that a stark barrier stood distinctly to my left, separating me from the...

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Little girl hugging her father while holding a teddy bear

As a Jewish preschool director just an hour north of Parkland, FL, my office has been a buzz of activity after 17 people were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. As a shooting survivor, I am intimately aware of the aftermath of a shooting. As a mother and early childhood professional, I am also in tune with the fears and responsibilities that hold the same place in our hearts after a tragedy like this occurs. In my years of working with children and families, and in studying the early childhood brain - especially as it responds to trauma - I have learned a number of things....

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Red paper lanterns hanging over a street at twilight

This time of year, my father is fond of reminding my family of how lucky we are to be Chinese and Jewish. “Three New Year celebrations means three chances for a fresh start!”

He’s right, of course. My family has always felt fortunate to be a part of two rich, longstanding traditions. We are proud of our history. We feel a strong sense of belonging to multiple communities. And we are grateful for the American context that enabled two separate traditions to integrate and form our family’s unique experience.

I am often asked what that experience entails. Because we are a...

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Torn red paper heart held together by a Bandaid against a white background

“God spoke to Moses, saying: Tell the Israelite people to bring Me gifts; you shall accept gifts for Me from every person, whose heart so moves them.”

How painfully ironic it is that the perpetrator in this week’s school shooting in Florida chose Valentine’s Day to carry out his fatal plot. A day of love, romance, flowers, chocolate, amorous notes, and intimate poems turned into one of hate, fear, bloodshed, tragedy, and death. Cupid’s arrows were destroyed by the high-powered bullets of an automatic rifle. Our greatest gifts were gruesomely gunned down.

It is the word...

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