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The author and his elderly mother posing together against a white background

There are some questions about growing up as the son of Holocaust survivors I had never asked my parents, so a week before Mother’s Day, I phoned my 96-year-old mother, Adela, and asked her to share some memories and thoughts about motherhood.

Aron: What was it like for you as a mother when Rose [my sister] and I were little?

Adela: Whenever I think back to that time, I feel regret. I never had time to be a mother. I was always running: being a nurse to your father, leaving for work at 6:00 in the morning and coming home at 7:00, cooking and cleaning. I was in some kind of...

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs and Rabbi Aaron Panken, z"l

This past weekend, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), the Reform Movement’s seminary, announced that President Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, Ph.D., age 53, died tragically in the crash of a small plane he was piloting on Saturday, May 5. He served as the 12th president in HUC-JIR’s 143-year history. What follows is the eulogy Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform...

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Person washing hands at a hospital/surgical sink

With every new day there seems to be nothing but bad news coming out of Israel. We read of corruption, civil unrest, deportations of asylum seekers, and assaults on basic democratic principles. Many of us who are ohavei Yisrael – lovers of Israel – find ourselves asking, “Is there no good news? Is there nothing we can feel good about these days?”

There is.

On a recent visit to Israel, I witnessed extraordinary acts of human kindness at a hospital near the Syrian border.

The Galilee Medical Center regularly serves a demographically mixed population of about 600,000...

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Unemployed men queued outside a Depression era soup kitchen opened in Chicago by mobster Al Capone in 1931

When Holocaust historians ask what Americans knew at the time, the focus often is on the politicians and lawmakers whose votes and initiatives may have mitigated the Nazi genocide against the Jews.

An exhibit opening this month at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum here asks the question "What did Americans know?" On a more literal level: What did American voters, the constituents who may have done more to pressure their lawmakers to intervene, know at the time?

The answer – a lot – is less than comforting to those who may harbor a sentimental belief that if only the common...

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Hand holding yad and marking place in Torah scroll

I do not typically read through Torah portions in full. If I am interested in learning more about a specific story or portion, I usually turn to the internet for summaries or other brief commentaries of the text and its key messages.

A few weeks ago, though, I challenged myself to sit down and read B’har, the first of the two portions we read from the Torah this week, from start to finish. As I read through the full text line-by-line, I grew frustrated, particularly with this text, which explains...

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