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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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Headshot of musician Guy Mendilow with long blond hair and a hat holding a guitar

Israeli-born musician Guy Mendilow directs a world-class ensemble that combines evocative storytelling with emotionally captivating music. Each performance by the Guy Mendilow Ensemble “[explodes] with artistry, refinement, and excitement” (Hebrew Union College), conjuring voices lost to war and upheaval, whisking audiences to distant times and picturesque places, and, ultimately, stirring highly resonant, deeply moving connections to contemporary struggles and dilemmas. I caught up with Guy after the ensemble performed at the...

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Lincoln Memorial against black background

In many ways, Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), the 16th president of the United States, remains one of the most “biblical” figures in American history. Despite contemporaneous suspicions of his being an agnostic, much of what he wrote was infused with scriptural quotations favoring the Hebrew Bible to the New Testament by a four to one margin. Moreover, he came to understand the Civil War and the destruction of slavery in biblical terms and later, saw a biblical mandate in “binding up the wounds of the nation.” Unlike New England Puritans during the Colonial era who loved Hebrew but disdained...

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