Honoring Hannah and Protecting Our Planet in Her Memory

Hannah Weiss People across North America are boosting their sustainability efforts to honor a beloved member of our community, Hannah Weiss. The 19-year-old perished in a plane crash in Costa Rica on New Year’s Eve 2017, along with her parents, Mitchell and Leslie, and 16-year-old brother, Ari, who was a USY chapter president at Congregation B'nai Israel in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Weiss family members were wel...

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Women, Mothers, Rabbis, Trailblazers: Juggling Identities and Roles in the Masorti Movement

The Masorti Movement in Israel—a Judaism that preserves observance and tradition while recognizing how modern life in Israel is lived—is blessed with women rabbis of intellect, energy, and spiritual commitment to Torah, egalitarianism, inclusion, and community. Their varied backgrounds and experiences enrich their kehillot and communities. From Israel to France and the former Soviet Union and beyond, these women blaze a ...

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Bimah Buddies: Nurturing Inclusion, Spirituality and Confidence

Greta Loewenthal and Marcus Weller at Purim. It started with a dance. Greta Loewenthal knew there was something special about the young boy she met years ago at Am Yisrael Conservative Congregation in Northfield, Illinois. “Marcus Weller has been a part of my life since I was a child,” recalls Greta. “On Friday nights, we used to dance together during services because I thought he was a cute little boy, and I e...

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The Story Behind
Israel Story

Mishy Harman behind the microphone. Mishy Harman is on the phone…again. No, he’s not securing an interview for his award-winning podcast Israel Story, he’s speaking to his parents for the seventh time today. Nothing’s wrong, he’s just checking in. His brother and sister average four calls per day with their parents as well. “For us, it’s wonderful to have three great kids,” shared Dorothy Harman in an Israel Story ...

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Get Your Water Bucket Ready! Reimagining Shavuot in 2020

Any ordinary year, a Shavuot celebration—the holiday that began as an agricultural festival and later evolved to honor the giving of the Torah to Moses at Mt. Sinai—might have looked like this: reading the Book of Ruth, staying up all night studying the Torah, and eating cheesecake and other dairy foods. But 2020 is far from ordinary. In this year of a worldwide pandemic and stay at home orders that are just now s...

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High School Grads Opt for a Gap Year in Israel

With so much uncertainty about what college life will look like this fall, an increasing number of high school graduates are opting for a gap year. A gap year provides students with the opportunity to defer college for one year to continue to learn and grow. For Jewish teens, living and studying in Israel can fulfill a dream of spending time in the Jewish homeland and deepening one’s connection with their faith. Yonah...

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Jewish Teen Creates Top Coronavirus Site in Desire to Change the World

Jewish teen creates COVID-19 website. Courtesy: Avi Schiffmann People searching for the most up-to-date statistics on the Coronavirus outbreak need to look no further than ncov2019.live—a website created by Avi Schiffmann, a 17-year-old Jewish teenager living near Seattle, Washington. It’s currently a top-visited site with more than 100 million visitors—60 percent of whom live outside the U.S. Avi came up with the ...

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Inspiring Curiosity for Israeli Culture Through Dance

Art and in particular, dance, has the power to educate and effect change. That’s the mission behind the Keshet Chaim (Colors of Life) Dance Ensemble, which draws from timeless themes of Jewish culture to preserve tradition and bring stories alive on stage worldwide. Founded in 1983 by Artistic Director Eytan Avisar, Keshet Chaim, under the creative direction of Choreographer Kobi Rozenfeld, develops original ...

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Wassup, Really? Helping Young Adults Struggling With Mental Health

Elyssa is a certified instructor for Youth Mental Health First Aid, a program where adults help young adults struggling with mental health or substance abuse. According to the World Health Organization, mental illness afflicts 450 million people worldwide and half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14. Left untreated, mental health issues in kids can lead to school truancy, suicide, incarceration, r...

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The World Is Valerie Weisler’s “Kosher Oyster”—And There’s Power in That

Valerie Weisler was having a moment of incredible validation: Last year, she had received a grant from a foundation for Jewish camps to be a teaching artist. She spent her summer traveling to camps, community centers, and synagogues in 13 states and in five countries, where she delighted in sharing her story of founding The Validation Project and working with young people on solving issues and problems they see in th...

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