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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One Young Woman Tests Her Tanach

Elianna Sokoler of Southern California’s Temple Aliyah was one of four Americans who had the chance to test their knowledge of the Tanach in Israel. After endless hours of daily studying, note taking and memorizing the most minute details, everything finally came together earlier this year for now-college freshman Elianna Sokoler of Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills, California. Elianna represented the United States in ...

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Masorti Offers a Compassionate Conversion Alternative in Israel

For wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” —Ruth 1:16 Conversion to Judaism in Israel is not simple. Nevertheless, some remarkable people have chosen Judaism—chosen to link their lives with the Jewish people through the Israeli Masorti Movement’s welcoming, egalitarian, warm tradition. While the State of Israel recognizes Masorti conversio...

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Challah Fights Hunger on Campus

With tuition at public four-year universities having increased by 213 percent since 1988 (while family income has only risen by 11 percent) and with a vast majority of students now paying for some or all of their college education, more students than ever are left wondering when and how their next healthy meal will come. Two students and one alumni who participated in past cohort groups. As a result, nearly half of...

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How My Mother’s Illness Led to My Inclusion Journey

By Zelene Lovitt Zelene Lovitt When my mother was 9 years old, she contracted polio. That may be a benign sentence to read in 2019, but it was earth shattering at the time. Not only did polio impact her life, but it had a ripple effect on my own. Polio eventually brought me into the world of inclusion and ultimately gave me a mission to help people with physical, mental and emotional difficulties. A spinal tap g...

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Jewish Veteran Takes on New Mission

Ellis Corets, now 88, is a Korean War veteran who’s spent the last eight years researching and documenting Jewish service members who were killed or missing in action (M.I.A.) during World Wars I and II, as well as those M.I.A. in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Each of 3,560 soldiers he’s documented are buried or memorialized overseas. When Rabbi Jay Rosenbaum of Herzl-Ner Tamid Conservative Congregation in Mercer Islan...

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When Fasting Is Just Not Feasible on Yom Kippur

One woman can’t do it because she is breastfeeding her newborn. A man can’t do it because he is diabetic. And another can’t do it because he is on daily medication that must be taken with food and water. There are so many reasons why fasting—a way in which we practice self-denial—is just not feasible on Yom Kippur. Still, Jews can observe the holiday in ways that are personally meaningful. Putting your health first is a ...

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