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  • Preparing for the Ebola, making noise in Hollywood, going vegan and more - this week from Israel

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    9 hours ago

    Vegans in Ramat-Gan

    On Monday, tens of thousands flocked to Ramat Gan National Park for the second year in a row, and lined up to taste “the best” vegan malabi, try on a pair of vegan shoes or take home a box of vegan condoms. Animal rights activists, natural- food lovers and the...

  • Here I Am. Where Are You?

    By Beit T'shuvah

    3 days ago

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    As my first blog of the new year, 5775, I want to talk about hiding. For me, this is the original sin in the Bible. Whenever we feel less than, whenever we feel wrong, we hide. God is calling out to us every hour of every day the same word God called out to...

  • In a perfect world, the UK Parliament would have looked different

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    5 days ago

    In a perfect world, George Galloway would have been removed from office, and Mike Freer would have stayed and fight. Sadly, we don’t live in a perfect world…


    In the past couple of days, headlines here were all about the UK, and its House of Commons' controversial vote to...

  • How to Choose a Lifetime Partner

    By Dr. Afshine Emrani

    1 week ago

    When asked about a potential lifetime partner, I always offer the same litmus test:  “Is s/he kind?”

    The most important aspect of a person’s character is kindness, the filter through which all acts of love and courage are expressed.

    “How do I know if he is kind?”  The question...

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  • What’s Your Sukkah?

    By Beit T'shuvah

    1 week ago

    By Rabbi Paul Steinberg

    Jews argue.  It’s written into our history; it’s written into how we approach life.  Why is that? Well, Judaism wisely understands that the truth is manifold.  A does not have to equal A.  A can be B, A can be C, or any other number of possibilities, and...

  • Building for a better future - check out the new student village in Sderot

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    2 weeks ago

    Sukkot is all about houses, and having a sense of place, even when you’re far away from home. On this Sukkot, I am proud to tell you a story I recently heard, of a new form of housing that is currently forming in the Israeli city of Sderot:


    After over a decade of living under...

  • Google against Antisemitism, fighting Ebola, an action movie in TLV and more…This week from Israel

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    2 weeks ago

    Google’s future plans of fighting hate-speech

    Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, was presented with the ADL International Leadership Award, and expressed his hope that one day there might be a more exciting option for dealing with hate speech: artificial intelligence. He...

  • G’Mar Hatima Tova – We are SEALED in the BOOK OF GOOD!

    By Beit T'shuvah

    2 weeks ago

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    Dear Community,

    It is with great Joy and Gratitude that I send this Yom Kippur Message. As I looked back at last year’s message, I can say that my goals of improving were reached. I improved myself and made less of the same errors and fewer new ones in...

  • My Yom Kippur Lesson

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    3 weeks ago

    Yom Kippur is our time to reflect, think and ask for forgiveness. Not because we have to, but because we want to. It is our time to look back at all the times we were so convinced we’re right that we let our fingers type or our mouth speak harsh words towards others. Sometimes, it...

  • Ghosts in the classroom: A Yom Kippur message

    3 weeks ago

    There are ghosts in our classrooms.  Listen closely, and you can hear the generational echoes reverberating. 

    The grandfather of a second grader struggling with math was a renowned professor at MIT. The child who dances at the Kotel on his eighth grade class trip remembers his...

  • “Heil Hitler” at the heart of London - an open letter to the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    3 weeks ago

    Not sure if it was because of the growing anti- Semitism or constant terror threats, but when my boyfriend surprised me with a trip to London, my initial and immediate response was "but I don't want to die."  Since tickets were already booked, we boarded the plane, extra carefully,...

  • A Year of Gratitude: Shana Tova U’Metuka

    By Beit T'shuvah

    September 24, 2014 | 10:55 am

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    As we approach this new year of 5775, I am grateful to everyone who, over this past year and years, has helped me on my journey with words and acts of loving-kindness. These have taken the form of encouragement, kudos, criticisms, and rebukes. All have...

  • The magic of the Jewish holiday season!

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    September 23, 2014 | 8:37 am

    Israel is a Jewish and Democratic state. Most of the year, this definition is complicated and disrupting, but during a few weeks every year – it is beautifully simple and unifying all religious streams on the Judaism scale. It happens during the Hebrew month of Tishrei, when we...

  • Preparing to Marry God: A Near-Death Experience.

    By Dr. Afshine Emrani

    September 21, 2014 | 11:59 am

    Today is a good day to die!

    In sharp contrast to the upcoming New Year celebration of 2015, where people party as if they will live forever, and dance to music focused around the “booty,” the Jewish New Year is a simulated near death experience, it’s focus the soul. 

    We...

  • Committed to Being Perfectly Imperfect

    By Beit T'shuvah

    September 19, 2014 | 10:34 am

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    As I sit here, in Bridgeport, Ct., getting ready for a weekend as a Scholar In Residence, I am in awe of where my life is today. I laugh at and pinch myself every day, realizing how awesome and crazy my life is. I get to hang out with smart, deep people; I...

  • A Soul under Construction.

    By Dr. Afshine Emrani

    September 11, 2014 | 9:09 am

    We are not born perfect- into an imperfect world.

    At birth we start with a cry.  Our grand entrance is with closed fists and our exit with open hands.  We circumcise our newborn males. Life is an exercise in humility.  Our hearts are shattered again and again as God seeks our...

  • Our battle against Hamas is far from being over

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    September 10, 2014 | 9:24 am

    “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.” (Golda Meir. Statement to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., 1957)


    In the 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense, the Israeli Defense Forces successfully scared Hamas back to the dark caves...

  • Asking For My Own Forgiveness

    By Beit T'shuvah

    September 5, 2014 | 1:46 pm

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    It is another one of those nights! I woke up after 4 hours of sleep and could not go back to sleep. My mind started racing and I just now figured out why: I am in the middle of my Inventory for Yom Kippur. I have a form that looks at how I take actions that...

  • For the Love of Israel -Q&A with the young people who made Aliyah during Operation Protective Edge

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    September 5, 2014 | 8:34 am

    This summer, in the midst of a military operation in Gaza, while rockets whistled over our heads, a group of 300 young North Americans landed in Israel, their eyes lit with excitement. Those young folks, ages 18 to 23, made Aliyah with the purpose of starting a new, independent...

  • Enslaving Expectations

    By Dr. Afshine Emrani

    September 4, 2014 | 6:44 pm

    In 2012, the late Joan Rivers said that Johnny Carson had given her the biggest break of her career.  She became very close to him and even substitute hosted when he was on vacation.  When she accepted her own show, opposite his, Carson cut all tie with Rivers.

    I once acted as an...

  • This is What Fulfilling a Mitzvah Looks Like

    By Rabbi Robin Podolsky

    September 1, 2014 | 5:40 pm

    EBook Review: Assisted Loving: How I Stopped My Homo-Centric Life to Take Care of My Elderly Father by Debra Elise Miller


    Assisted Living will stay with you for a much longer time than it will take to read.  The book is just what the title promises: a sharply observed,...

  • Summing up the past two months - between happiness and frustration.

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    September 1, 2014 | 8:41 am

    How can I sum up this crazy summer?


    In the past eight weeks I have been through an emotional roller coaster. I’ve been up and down, high and low, frustrated and hopeful, but most of all – surprised, because of so many things…


    What started as yet another July, where my...

  • A New Way of Seeing

    By Beit T'shuvah

    August 29, 2014 | 10:21 am

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    It is 3:12am on Friday, August 29, 2014. I have been awake for over an hour. I’m not sure if I can go back to sleep, so I am writing my Blog.

    It has been an interesting, exciting, terrifying, and introspective month. I have had Cataract Surgery in both...

  • A New Way of Seeing

    By Beit T'shuvah

    August 29, 2014 | 10:21 am

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    It is 3:12am on Friday, August 29, 2014. I have been awake for over an hour. I’m not sure if I can go back to sleep, so I am writing my Blog.

    It has been an interesting, exciting, terrifying, and introspective month. I have had Cataract Surgery in both...

  • My Return Home

    By Dr. Afshine Emrani

    August 26, 2014 | 6:26 pm

    1978-2014.

    My younger self awaits me in that old home. He stares at the future that would be me; I ponder the past that was him. We connect on a bridge made of yearning and nostalgia. Hesitantly, we embrace.

    We fall to our knees and sob. I ask if he ever told dad about how he...

  • Rebuilding Begins - New Ideas are Needed

    By Salvador Litvak

    August 26, 2014 | 12:19 pm

    Rava said: If the righteous wanted, they could create a new world. (Sanhedrin 65b, B. Talmud)

    An open-ended cease-fire has been declared in Gaza.

    We pray that it lasts.

    If it does, new ideas are needed for creating a status quo that won't backslide into more of the same...

  • Recovering Judaism And Living Kosher

    By Beit T'shuvah

    August 22, 2014 | 1:50 pm

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    WHAT IS FITTING AND PROPER?

    This question haunts me each day, each week, each month and each year. It is especially present today as I reviewed the Weekly Torah Portion and read about Kashrut.

    Kashrut is usually associated with food and, in my search...

  • The masks are off: anti-Semitism across the world revealed its ugly self, and got out of hand

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    August 19, 2014 | 8:33 am

    Shouts of "Jews to the gas!"; An article claiming that "Israel’s military operation in Gaza showed why Jews "have been so frequently expelled."; A sign reading, "Well done Israel, Hitler would be proud,"; Use of the anti-Semitic blood libel...

    These are merely a few examples of...

  • Look Wendy, I can fly!

    By Marcus J Freed

    August 15, 2014 | 5:59 pm

    What happens when the funniest man on earth kills himself? We rush to make sense of out of the seemingly nonsensical. Humans like things to fit into a logical order. Tragedies confuse us. We ask ‘why?’, as if the entire universe should fit into our limited understanding.

    Can...

  • We Were Bold for Reproductive Justice: Rallying with the Be Bold Road Trip

    By Maya Paley

    August 15, 2014 | 12:46 pm

    This blog post was originally posted on the NCJW Insider Blog.

    I spent this past Saturday at the first stop of the All Above All Be Bold Road Trip, a national campaign to speak out for reproductive justice and bring attention to the need to guarantee abortion coverage for low...

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