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Hineini

Rachel Petroff Kessler

  There came a time when God put Abraham to the test. “Abraham!” God said to him, and Abraham answered, “Here I am.” – Genesis 22:1 As I approach Rosh Hashanah this year, I am wondering about what it means to say, “Hineini, here I am.” What does it mean to be present, to recognize More »

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2014
Aug
13

What does Avinu Malkeinu Really Mean?

Aryeh BenDavid

As I approach Rosh Hashanah this year, I am wondering about one line in Avinu Malkeinu: “Our Father, Our King, hear our voice, have great mercy upon us.” Our Father. My father passed away suddenly last Erev Rosh HaShana. It is now one year without my father. A year of emptiness and mourning. Our King. More »

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2014
Aug
07

The Apocalypse of Unetaneh Tokef

Richard Lederman

Much of what is written and said about the unetaneh tokef prayer revolves around the discomfort felt by many contemporary, presumably enlightened Jews. The notion of a divine royal judge sitting on a throne, reading from a book and deciding who should live and who should die through the unspeakable tortures that this text expresses More »

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2014
Aug
01

Sweetness On a Bitter Tongue

Yoni A. Dahlen

As I approach Rosh Hashanah this year, I am wondering about the sweetness of new beginnings in a time of bitterness. Throughout the world, Jews of every color and tradition will be celebrating the new year by replacing the symbolic salt on their challah with honey. It is tradition to greet one another with the More »

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2014
Jul
23

Safe Return – Ushmor Tzeiteinu

Naomi Less

On May 25th – just around 2 months after the militant group in Nigeria – Boko Haram – kidnapped/abducted over 200 school girls from Chibok, Nigeria, my friend Tehilah Eisenstadt-Feil invited me to walk. You see, I felt paralyzed – that I could do nothing, that our country’s efforts were amounting to nothing, that the More »

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2014
Jul
15

A Daily Choice: Shelo Asani Aved Today

Yael Roberts

Baruch atah HaShem, shelo asani aved. Traditional Jewish liturgy in the morning prayers includes the blessing “Blessed are you Lord, that you have not made me a slave.” It is one among many blessings in the morning prayers that have been worked and reworked to match society’s sensibilities. This blessing is particularly problematic today, because More »

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2014
Jul
08

The Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking

Rabbi Alon C Ferency

Sadly, modern-day slavery is a pressing and growing problem even in East Tennessee.  By most accounts, labor-slavery predominates over sexual-exploitation here, and most slaves are trafficked domestically, rather than imported from abroad.  I would like to tell you briefly about an organization with which I work: I recently joined the board of the Community Coalition More »

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2014
Jul
01

Is She Your Sister?

Yoni A. Dahlen

In the dry desert heat on the road to the river Nile, a foreign man and a foreign woman attract the stares of the local gentry. The oppressive sun has gotten to the locals. They are thirsty, they are tired, and their minds are muddled, creating an explosion of conflicting thoughts and emotions, whims of More »

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