Lewis and Clark and Akiva

Having grown up on the east coast, I had a steady diet of the Atlantic Ocean. And while I was never a big fan of the beach—sitting out in the sand for long periods of time was not my thing—I do love the ocean water. The Atlantic, whether on the Jersey Shore, or off the …

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Feeling With, Mourning With, Living With

I've spent the better part of this week mourning someone I did not know. Through the power of the internet and social media I was recently introduced to "Superman" Sam Sommer, an 8-year-old boy who had suffered from leukemia and died last week. His parents are both rabbis in the Chicago area, and while I …

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Hear the News

This Shabbat as part of our Torah reading cycle we read the end of Genesis, which concludes the story of Joseph and his brothers. Joseph has reconciled with his brothers and reunited with his father, and now everyone is settled in the land of Egypt, having moved down from Canaan in search of opportunity, and …

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“If the Ladder is Rickety, Don’t Rely on Miracles.”

Today is the last day of Hanukkah. Much like the spices at Havdalah at the end of Shabbat, which are meant to remind us of the sweetness of Shabbat over the course of the rest of the week, so too does to fully-lit menorah we lit last night is meant to leave us with the …

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What Lincoln Can Teach Us About Hanukkah

As a child I was raised on a steady dose of Pilgrims and Native Americans when it came to Thanksgiving. The story was told and retold come fall, and craft projects at school reflected that theme. As I get older, however, that story seems to have faded from my thoughts as I draw to Thanksgiving. …

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Vanquishing our Goblins

Last weekend we had a wonderful visit from Eric Kimmel, one of the leading Jewish children’s book authors. Eric visited the Timberland Library on Saturday evening, then spent Sunday morning with our Beit Sefer families before concluding his time with a lunch with community members. For a tradition that loves storytelling, Eric continues that tradition …

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Why “Protect Our Children” Doesn’t

Here in Washington, we don’t have Election Day, we have election week. With all mail balloting the norm here, it means that we don’t always have the final tally of votes at the end of Election Day. Votes that are postmarked on Election Day are still valid, and as they come in a close election …

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Come as You Are

Recently you may have heard about the Pew study of American Jewry, which revealed many interesting details and trends among Jews. I’ve been slowly digesting both the report itself and the numerous commentaries written analyzing the report and its implications. In short, the report shows that many Jews identify strongly with Judaism and Jewish community. …

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