Blog

Roots in Cuba: A Journey of Identity

Sumiko Zayon
Before Fidel Castro's rise to power in 1959, Cuba was home to over 15,000 Jews. However, by the time I was born in 1988, that number had dwindled to approximately 1,500. For most Jews, Cuba had become a transit point on their way to the United States. Nevertheless, a few families, like mine, chose to remain. When he rose to power, Castro imposed restrictions on religious practices. Although these policies were not specifically aimed at Jews, we were still negatively impacted. My mother and Aunt Lulu would whisper "Ma’oz Tzur," share stories of the Hanukkah gifts from Abuelo Abraham, and tell us about the delicious apple walnut charoset their Bobbe used to make. My sister recently reminded me that we used to ask Mami: "If that charoset is so delicious, why don’t we make it?"

Nourishing the Soul and Body with Bread

Rabbi Deborah Prinz
There are many ways that rabbis nourish their communities. Some focus on working with local charities to support people in need, and others connect with the wider community through education. Some rabbis have found a way to do both using a unique medium: challah.

No, Thank *You* For Your Service

Rabbi Lawrence Freedman
It wasn't because of 9/11. It wasn't because I had a tradition of military service in my family. And while the pay and benefits are nice, it wasn't for those reasons, either. That wasn't why I joined the U.S. Air Force Reserves in 2003 and later switched to the Air National Guard. I joined for the same reason I became a rabbi: I have a desire to serve others and be part of something larger than myself.

Artists, Authors, Activists, and More: Four Inspiring Indigenous Jewish Women

Crystal Hill
In honor of Native American heritage month, I’m excited to share with you four women whose intersecting Jewish and Indigenous identities have influenced their work as authors, artists, actors, activists, lawyers, and musicians. These women come from a wide array of ages, cultures, and locations; their work speaks to the ways that Jewish values of justice, learning, and belonging overlap with Indigenous culture.

Crypto-Foods: A Warm Embrace and the Triumph of Survival

Crystal Hill
During the Spanish Inquisition, there were plenty of ways that one could be identified as a Jew. One way people would identify their neighbors as Jews was observing whether they would eat non-kosher food that was popular with the Christian population such as pork, sausage, or fish without scales.

How to Talk to Your Children about Israel and Terrorism: A Toolbox

Ellie Rudee
Crystal Hill
On October 7, 2023 / 23 Tishrei 5784, on Shabbat Sh'mini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad launched an unprecedented attack on Israel from Gaza. Here are seven tips that may help you navigate discussing these acts of terrorism and violence with your children.