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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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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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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Obama Speechwriter Sarah Hurwitz on Her Jewish Journey of Rediscovery

Sarah Hurwitz’s book "Here All Along" chronicles her journey of reconnecting with Judaism. When author and former White House speechwriter Sarah Hurwitz was growing up, she did what many Jewish children do—went to services at her local synagogue twice a year, enjoyed seders with family and friends, and attended Hebrew school as she worked her way to the big day: her Bat Mitzvah. But when the day finally came and went,...

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MatzoBall Has Young Jews Rocking Around the Dance Floor

Forget Chinese take-out and going to the movies. Christmas Eve now has a firmly planted tradition for thousands of young, single Jews around the country: MatzoBall. MatzoBall was created in Boston by Andy Rudnick (right) in 1987. Since then, the event has expanded to several locations around the country, including Los Angeles, Miami, and New York City. Dubbed the “granddaddy of Jewish holiday parties” by USA Today,...

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Letting in the Light: Enhancing Jewish Practice Through Technology

By Naomi Kennedy It all started by lighting Chanukah candles with a homemade Chanukiah in downtown Jerusalem while participating in Nativ (USY’s Gap Year program in Israel). The experience was an extension of what I had always done during this holiday, but it was also the beginning of a new phase of my life—one that would have me living away from my family permanently. Skype and FaceTime calls were an indispensable...

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Protecting Our Kids from Predators

Dr. Cliff Nerwen has a passion for child protection. Can you tell a child predator from someone who is simply being friendly to your child? And, more importantly, can your child tell the difference? Dr. Cliff Nerwen, a pediatrician and president of Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale in New York who won last year’s Shoshana S. Cardin Award for his child protection work, says the ability to discern between...

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