A WALK IN THE PARK 

I never get writers’ block, but this week I came close. I start thinking about the next post six or seven days ahead of the Friday on which it appears. Sometimes, I develop more than one idea. Last Tuesday, I was still drawing a blank. One of the best techniques I know for freeing the…

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REFORM JEWS AT A CROSSROADS 

Following October 7, the Israel-Hamas war kicked up a small storm in Reform Judaism. My synagogue, Congregation Sherith Israel, has not been immune. I begin with a January 1 column in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper by Daniel Weiner, senior rabbi of Seattle’s Temple De Hirsch Sinai: “What We Reform Jews Forgot to Teach Our Children.” (Daniel Weiner is…

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AGING AND MAKING SPACE 

The American adoration of the rugged, hence isolated, individual becomes most unhelpful as people age. Installing a new Apple TV device offers a prime example. Many elders refuse assistance. Let their children or grandchildren—or professionals—help them get along? That stands as an admission that independence is waning, that they’ll soon be removed from their home…

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CHANUKAH AND HAMAS 

Sundown tonight marks the end of the eight-day Festival of Lights—Chanukah. However, the story we’ve again told usually remains incomplete because we ignore the related law of unintended consequences. Israel should take note. And Hamas. Around 164 BCE, traditional Jews defeated their Seleucid Greek overlords and also Jewish Hellenizers. The winners cleaned and rededicated (the…

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GENOCIDE AND CONTEXT 

Today’s first day of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, arrives during a period of more than seasonal darkness. Israel continues to face the threat of Hamas (and Hezbollah) violence, a war rages in Gaza, and Jews across the globe, including the United States, contend with rising antisemitism. Of note, Jewish college students who support Israel…

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