Jewish Values and Experiences Inspire Josh Warshawsky’s Music

Rabbi Josh Warshawsky With his guitar in hand and the words of Torah in his heart, recently ordained Rabbi Josh Warshawsky has been able to impact and inspire Jews around the country through the power of music. A singer, song leader, and composer, Rabbi Warshawsky travels the United States and Canada sharing original melodies with Jewish camps, schools, and synagogues. He has released three albums—all of which can...

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Questions Energize Our Pursuit of Truth

By Rabbi Perry Raphael Rank Rabbi Perry Raphael Rank is Senior Rabbi at Midway Jewish Center in Syosset, New York Way back when you were sitting in some Hebrew School classroom, one of your teachers may have told you that God wrote the Torah. Or alternatively, the teacher may have claimed that God dictated the Torah to Moses, who then wrote it down himself. You may or may not have questioned that tidbit of knowledg...

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It Takes a Community to Protect the Planet

Jewish tradition has long taught us the importance of preserving and protecting the planet. As Psalm 24 says, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers,” making any act that damages the earth an offense against the creation of God. In 2020, as millions of acres in Australia have burned (and are still ...

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Love at First Click

Richard and Sara celebrate their wedding in style. One year after getting engaged on Rosh Hashanah, Richard and Sara Brener celebrated their love with family and friends when they wed in Rosemont, Illinois, this past September. And while much of their Jewish wedding was traditional—from serving an all-kosher meal to doing a bedeken—the way the couple met wasn’t so much. Richard and Sara are among an estimated 70 pe...

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The Value of Teen Summer Travel…and Ways to Save

For parents of Jewish teens, instilling in their children a passion for Judaism, an expansive worldview, and the importance of Jewish friendships is often of the utmost importance. However, parents are often conflicted about the best methods -- the “how and when” of talking about or suggesting experiences that will resonate most with their teens can feel daunting.  Of course there are the consistent activitie...

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Meaningful Goal Setting in the New Year

Whatever your feelings are on New Year’s resolutions, it’s hard to deny that the beginning of a new year (and in this case, a new decade!) is by its nature a time for renewal, re-examination, and growth. This is especially the case for achieving goals for ourselves and our families in the realm of Jewish involvement. Some of us are building on the momentum of our engagement in the past year, and many of us are looking fo...

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Honey and Poi: Being Jewish in Hawaii

Alex Golub and Mathew Sgan of Congregation Sof Ma'arav share their journey of being Jewish in Hawaii, and how it led them to collaborate as research partners in writing a new book. Alex Golub When most of us imagine centers of American Jewish life, we are more likely to think of Manhattan or Los Angeles than the middle of the Pacific Ocean. So for us, and the other members of our Conservative shul in Oahu, Hawaii,...

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Hazzan’s Work With Teen a Capella Group Hits High Note

Inspired by his work with Marak HaYom, a teen-run Jewish a Capella group, Hazzan Matthew Austerklein recently came out with the book, Ilu Finu: A Capella for Jewish Prayer. Fresh out of cantorial school and working at Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County in Bethesda, Maryland, one thing immediately hit a high note with Hazzan Matthew Austerklein (now a cantor at Beth El in Akron, Ohio)—the synagogue’s teen-run a ...

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VIDEO: The Power of Inclusion

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2a0zof_BmI&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1YTUxLnZKkHcGwSjev2SMtZdRr-14kDovq5JzzkhFjAnvUY-GZZ9qvb1w There are disabilities you can't help but see...and there are disabilities you absolutely don't see. The great miracle of God is that God creates every human being from the same mold, and yet each person somehow is unique. What is most crucial is that we recognize e...

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What Jew Wanna Eat: Jewish Food With a Modern Twist

Amy Kritzer BeckerPhotos by Tim Kyle Photography Amy Kritzer Becker’s culinary roots first developed as a child, while she cooked side-by-side with her grandmother among the aromas and flavors of potato kugel and matzo ball soup. Years later, while working a corporate job, Amy fulfilled her passion for cooking by voraciously reading food blogs. “I thought, ‘Wait, I can do this,’” she recalls. “So I quit my job, and...

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