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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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2014
Jun
27

I don’t need a synagogue, but is there a community garden?

Rabbi Justin Goldstein

Talmud Yerushalmi, Kiddushin 4:12 :ר’ חזקיה רבי כהן בשם רב: אסור לדור בעיר שאין בה לא רופא, ולא מרחץ, ולא ב”ד מכין וחובשין. אמר ר’ יוסי בי ר’ בון אף אסור לדור בעיר שאין בה גינוניתא של ירק Rabbi Hezekiah and Rabbi Kohen in the name of Rav said: It is forbidden to live in a city More »

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2014
Jun
25

A Light Unto the Neighborhoods

Yoni A. Dahlen

From my office window in Boro Park, I see Hasidim buying flowers and carrying challahs. Girls in long skirts and leather shoes talk in front of brownstone stoops, covering their mouths as if embarrassed by their giggles. “Es iz tsayit tsu geyn a haym,” my supervisor tells me. “It’s time to go home, Yoni. A More »

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2014
Jun
23

Returning Home

We came from the desert. Kind of, as the pre-Jewish tribes ranged across sections of Judea and Mesopotamia in an era when the Middle East was likely a bit greener than it is today, and life was still not easy. Our communities began as semi-nomadic groups, herding, then tilling, practicing disparate religious customs until one More »

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2014
Jun
22

Good Neighbors

Rabbi Jessica Lott

I live in a neighborhood of churches.  Within a two block radius of my home you can find the United House of Prayer for All People, Mount Joy Soul Saving Station, Church of the Living God, Third Street Church of God, Galbraith AME Zion Church, Church of God and Saints of Christ (Temple Beth El), More »

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