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Closeup of a child looking down on a container of blueberry ice cream on a picnic table

Growing up, Shavuot wasn’t really part of my Jewish experience. It fell just outside of the religious school season, and much of the “cheesecake holiday” remained a mystery to me until my adulthood.

My children, however, will know Shavuot. In fact, they’ll look forward to it all year. This is because we’ve created a family tradition that they’re excited about. Of course, it involves dairy and, most appropriately for a festival set to...

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Three blintzes on a plate garnished with peach slices and a dollop of sour cream

When you marry someone, you not only get a spouse, you also get another family. When I married my husband, Rabbi Donald Goor, I inherited his mother and father, his siblings, their children. I even inherited his grandmother: Jeannette Multer. Jeannette wasn’t “Nana” or “Bubbie” or “Safta” or “Gramma.” She was “Grandmother.” Grandmother. And the properness of “Grandmother” embodied who she was: exacting, precise, and at times a bit rigid.

But Grandmother was also a voracious reader (she had once owned a bookstore), an astute student of politics and world affairs, a lifelong,...

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Triangular British bunting/flags in foreground; out-of-focus garden party in background

Growing up in Ottawa, Canada, I looked forward to Victoria Day, which falls this year on Monday, May 21, as the official start of the summer season. With it comes some combination of beach, beer, barbecue, and, finally, an excuse to wear sandals and a t-shirt. This year, the long weekend will mark a more historic moment for the British Crown and the rest of the Commonwealth – the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

I admit I am a royalist, but it comes naturally; my mother is British. Waking up in the early morning hours of July 29, 1981 to watch Lady Diana Spencer marry her...

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Row of people standing against a wall

Just as each of us must work to end gender-based violence in our country and world, we are also responsible for challenging our own community – namely the Reform Jewish community – to address its own issues of sexual assault and harassment. I take inspiration from the brave Jewish women who are taking these problems in the Jewish community into their own hands, translating #MeToo into #GamAni, and bringing needed attention to the experiences of our community's ...

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A prison cell

Shavuot marks the end of the counting of the Omer, the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot. Many view the counting of the Omer as a spiritual and conscientious practice—but while the Reform Jewish community conscientiously counts through 49 days, we know that there are many who count days, weeks, and years as they serve time in the criminal justice system.

Today, the United States has the largest imprisoned population in the world by total number. Over-criminalization and mass incarceration have overwhelmingly affected people of color. Black men are disproportionately likely to be...

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