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weekly-torah-portion - Tue, 03/28/2017 - 9:42am

LEVITICUS 1:1−5:26 

By Rabbi Ismar Schorsch. Reprinted with permission of the Jewish Theological Seminary for MyJewishLearning.com

Addressing Our Loved Ones

While God commands Moses, He also calls to him affectionately.

I never heard my parents address each other by their first names. They showed their mutual affection, which remained palpable till late in their lives, by using pet names. My father called my mother "Mutti"(from the German word for mother–Mutter) and my mother always called him "Schatzi" (from the German word for treasure–Schatz). As my father aged, he developed the habit of saying "Mutti" to himself audibly and often, without ever intending to attract her attention. Alone in his study, he would emit the sound of her name when he rose from his desk to get another book or just reclined to rest for a moment. She was clearly the anchor of his life.

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Passover is coming, check out our Passover Resource Kit.

PBS Panel Discussion on BDS: University Students Indoctrinated to View Jews, Israelis as ‘Bad,’ Palestinians as ‘Victims’

young-adults - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 12:00am
by Lea Speyer, the algemeiner.com

Identity politics are leading to the indoctrination of university students to view Jews and Israelis as “bad” and Palestinians as “victims,” a prominent American social psychologist warned on Monday.

Jonathan Haidt — professor of ethical leadership at NYU’s Stern School of Business — made this assertion during a panel discussion on PBS‘ “Charlie Rose,” with guest moderator Dan Senor — co-author of Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle — and New York Times columnist Frank Bruni.

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When Life Really Was a Cabaret—and Cabaret Was a Life

LGBTQ - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 12:00am
By Marjorie Ingall for Tablet Magazine

An evening of Jewishly inflected, queer songs brings Weimar Germany back to life with humor and music

I felt a little daring as I went out alone last weekend—in a leopard-print dress and red lipstick—to a dimly lit boîte to experience Lavender Songs: A Queer Weimar Berlin Cabaret. Sans spouse or spawn, I sat solo at my own little table in the back of the room and ordered a gin and tonic. It was served to me in a wine glass; the show had sold out and the club had run out of tumblers. “Classy, no?” the handsome waiter said with a dimpled smile as he set my drink down. It felt right.

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Products that Do Not Require Passover Certification and Much More in OU Guide to Passover 2017 [download]

news-in-the-jewish-world - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 12:00am
From the Jewish Press

You are now welcome to download the OU Passover Guide 2017, with the following sections:

The OU Certified Products That DO NOT Require OU-P

Products that are Kosher when Bearing an OU-P, and Infant Formulas and Supplements.

Non-Food Items and Guidelines for Medicine.

OU-Kitniyot and OU-Matza Ashira Products.

Halachic Times for Passover.

“Sizing Up the Seder.”

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For more great Passover ideas, check out our Passover Resource Kit.


What Does Billy Crystal Love About Being Jewish?

jewish-arts-and-media - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 12:00am
Cindy Sher for The Forward

The inimitable Billy Crystal is back on the road. The six-time Emmy Award-winning comedian, actor, producer, director and writer — most recently of a book of essays, “Still Foolin’ ‘Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys” — is currently touring the U.S. with his new show, “Spend the Night with Billy Crystal.”

The show, scheduled to tour through April, promises to feel like an intimate chat with the audience — a blend of standup with a “sit-down” interview with Crystal, moderated at many shows by comedian and actor Bonnie Hunt. Crystal, who lives in Los Angeles, will tell stories, talk about the world as he sees it, reflect on his life and show some film clips from his long career.
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Red Wine and Onion-Braised Passover Brisket

jewish-food - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 12:00am



From Sunset

For Passover, Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman of Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen in San Francisco make this classic brisket, slow-braised in the oven with plenty of onions that get nice and sweet.

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For more great Passover ideas, check out our Passover Resource Kit.

Exodus: A Jewish Photo Scavenger Hunt App for Passover & Year Round

children-and-families - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 12:00am
By BimBam

Open iTunes to buy and download apps.

Help two kids pack up to leave Egypt in this simple photo scavenger hunt! Take pictures of everyday items with your phone or tablet that capture Jewish values. Listen closely as Ethan and Daria give you clues that will have you searching for that perfect item to photograph. 

After, review your photos with a grown-up to make sure that you've packed the right things and are ready to cross the Red Sea into freedom! Have fun! 

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For more great Passover ideas, check out our Passover Resource Kit.

The Good at Heart by Ursula Werner

jewish-books - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 12:00am
Jewish Book Council    

Based on the author’s discoveries about her great-grandfather, this stunning debut novel takes place over three days when World War II comes to the doorstep of an ordinary German family living in an idyllic, rural village near the Swiss border.

When World War II breaks out, Edith and Oskar Eberhardt move their family—their daughter, Marina; son-in-law, Franz; and their granddaughters—out of Berlin and into a small house in the quiet town of Blumental, near Switzerland. A member of Hitler’s cabinet, Oskar is gone most of the time, and Franz begins fighting in the war, so the women of the house are left to their quiet lives in the picturesque village.

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10 ways Israel’s water expertise is helping the world

israeil-news - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 12:00am
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c

To celebrate World Water Day, ISRAEL21c takes a look at 10 water innovation projects bringing clean water to communities across the world.

Using ingenuity to overcome its serious water challenges, Israel has become the go-to expert for a world facing an impending water crisis.

This year’s WATEC  expo and conference, to be held in September in Tel Aviv, is expected to attract 10,000 stakeholders from 90 countries seeking Israeli solutions for water issues.

Israel exports $2.2 billion annually in water technology and expertise. In addition, these commodities are shared on a humanitarian basis through training courses, consultations and projects.

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The Sacred Goal of Interfaith Family Inclusion

interfaith - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 12:00am

This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily 

by Rabbi Ari Moffic

I recently got introduced to a children’s book called Zero by Kathryn Otoshi. It’s a book aimed at preschoolers, but adults will also love it. In the book, Zero feels left out of the counting that all the other numbers get to do. They have value as counted numbers, but Zero doesn’t. She tries to impress those numbers with little success and even tries to look like them. Zero then realizes that she can convince the other numbers that if they add her on, they will count as a higher number. With Zero, they became 10, 20, 30, 100 and more. After reading this book, my kids and I were prompted to a discussion about how it feels to be left out and how sometimes we want to dress like someone else or act like someone else to fit in.

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Ask the Expert: Kosher Symbols

celebrating-judaism - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 12:00am
By MJL Staff

How to decode the different kosher labels.

Question: I’ve noticed that there are a lot of different symbols that indicate something is kosher. An OU, a triangle K, a cRc in a triangle, etc. One of my friends only eats things with some of the symbols, and not others. What’s the difference?
–Pam, Austin

Answer: You’re right that there are dozens of different symbols that indicate something is kosher. Each symbol comes from a different organization or rabbi.

What The Labels and Symbols Mean

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Tips for an Eco-Friendly Passover

green-living - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 12:00am
From Chicago Botanic Garden

With Passover less than a month away, it's time to start thinking sustainably about the holiday

Enriching Your Holidays

Each year more families “go green” by incorporating environmentally sound practices into their Passover celebration. Here at the Chicago Botanic Garden, we have some tips for making your holiday eco-friendly. We hope one of ways you’ll commemorate this season of renewal is to visit the Garden with your family, to see how the earth is gloriously rejuvenating itself within our 24 individual gardens and four natural areas.

Spring’s promise of renewal fits in with the Passover theme, as the story of Exodus tells how Jews were released from slavery and left Egypt, determined to renew themselves as a people. The Passover seder, centered around food and rich with symbols, is a special time for families to gather and remember by retelling the story in a traditional format (seder means “order”). But, as with so many other holidays, commercialism has encroached upon the sacred nature of Passover, which can also involve a fair amount of junk!

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For more great ideas, check out our Passover Resource Kit.


Revelio! Hogwarts Haggadah Ready — Just In Time For Passover

featured-articles - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 12:00am
By Shira Hanau for The Forward

A new addition to the Harry Potter saga is about to hit the shelves — this time in the form of a Haggadah.

Rabbi Moshe Rosenberg of Queens, New York is set to release his “Unofficial Hogwarts Haggadah” within the next two weeks.

“The entire Harry Potter series, and each book, contains many of the key elements and lessons of the Exodus story,” says Rosenberg. “Uplifting the downtrodden, sharing our current wealth and prosperity with others, education” and the list goes on. “The enthusiasm for ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ really assured me that there’s still an enormous appetite out there for Harry Potter.”

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Shabbat HaChodesh - Vayak’heil/P’kudei

weekly-torah-portion - Mon, 03/20/2017 - 9:19am

EXODUS 35:1–40:38 

BY MATTHEW BERKOWITZ, Jewish Theological Seminary

Of Leadership and Investment: A People Engage

Parashat Va-yak·hel-Pekudei continues the building of the Tabernacle—detailing the materials, craftsmanship, appurtenances, and its completion. Far from being the domain of the elite, the building of this dwelling place for God represents an endeavor undertaken by the entire people. We read that

Moses then gathered the whole Israelite community and said to them: These are the things that the Lord has commanded you to do. On six days work may be done, but on the seventh you will have a Sabbath of complete rest . . . Moses said further: This is what the Lord has commanded: Take from among you gifts to the Lord; everyone whose heart so moves him will bring them . . . gold, silver, and copper, blue, purple and crimson yarns. (Exod. 35:1–4)
Why turn to the “whole Israelite community,” and not simply a cabal of leaders, contractors, and artisans to realize this vision? Such a strategy would have been far easier for Moses, limiting the scope of participation to the elites of the community.
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Three Rules for a Better Bar or Bat Mitzvah

young-adults - Mon, 03/20/2017 - 12:00am
By Mark Oppenheimer for Tablet Magazine 

Jews do the milestone event all wrong. Here’s a quick, and meaningful, fix.

About a dozen years ago, I traveled across the country crashing bar and bat mitzvahs, from Arkansas to Alaska. I sneaked into one swank New York City bar mitzvah party by posing as a security guard. I stealthily trailed a deluxe coach in my station wagon to figure out where the 13-year-olds were going for the after-party. I got mistaken for one of the hired dancers. I ate a lot of free finger food. It was all research for my book Thirteen and a Day: The Bar and Bat Mitzvah Across America. In the end, despite all the pop-culture ridicule that the bar and bat mitzvah come in for, the TV and movie depictions of bitchy, prematurely mature adolescents at lavish parties (e.g. in Sex and the City, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, and many more), I argued that bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies—despite not being in the Torah, not being required, and being widely derided—are valuable coming-of-age ceremonies, and there’s a good reason that Jews who do almost nothing else Jewish nonetheless think that maybe their children should do this crazy thing.

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UK Jewish heterosexual couple seeks same legal rights as LGBTs

LGBTQ - Mon, 03/20/2017 - 12:00am
BY JENNI FRAZER for The Times of Israel    

Civil partnership has been possible for gay spouses in Britain since 2004, and marriage since 2013 — but mixed-sex pairs may only wed. Charles Keidan and Rebecca Steinfeld are pushing for change

Seven years ago, Charles Keidan and Rebecca Steinfeld met at a lecture at the London School of Economics.

“Actually, it was about Gaza,” they smile.

Today, the two are making English legal history as they seek to change the law on civil partnership. They argue that the Civil Partnership Act of 2004 is discriminatory because only same-sex couples are eligible, and they want the law to be extended to heterosexual couples, too.

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Study finds clues to blood cancer in Arabs and Jews

news-in-the-jewish-world - Mon, 03/20/2017 - 12:00am
By ISRAEL21c Staff    

Some risk factors for B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma are the same in both groups, while others are unique to one or the other.

New light has been shed on the interplay between genes, environment and disease with the publication of an Israeli study on risk factors for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in Jewish and Arab populations.

As of 2012, Israel ranked first in the world in NHL incidence rates. This blood cancer represents the fifth most common malignancy in Israel and the eighth most common malignancy among West Bank Palestinians.

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Does This Movie Herald The Arrival Of A Yiddish Film Renaissance?

jewish-arts-and-media - Mon, 03/20/2017 - 12:00am
A.J. Goldmann for The Forward

Between 1911 and 1950, there were hundreds — the exact number is the matter of some debate — of Yiddish films produced, mostly in Eastern Europe and America. It seems safe to say that over the past few years, there have been more Yiddish-language films than at any time since World War I. I give the credit for this development to the Coen Brothers, whose 2010 film, “A Serious Man,” opened with a 10-minute-long Yiddish horror short that bore little surface relation to the offbeat 1960s retelling of the Book of Job that followed.

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Charoset from Around the World

jewish-food - Mon, 03/20/2017 - 12:00am

With Passover less than a month away, we're featuring recipes from our Passover Resource Kit. 

This one comes from Hazon, with five types of Charoset:  Moroccan, Ashkenazi, Israeli, Yemenite, and Venetian.  Try something new this year. Or try all five!

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For more great Passover ideas, check out our Passover Resource Kit.


Afikomen bag in 30 minutes

children-and-families - Mon, 03/20/2017 - 12:00am

With Passover less than a month away, we're featuring ideas from our Passover Resource Kit.

From BibleBeltBalabusta

Afikoman bag: a seder-centric craft for those of us with 30 minutes or less. It’s practical, decent-looking, durable, and fun for kids to make. 

I program this with Kindergarteners, but with tweaks it can work for other grades. Note that if you are working with just one or two kids, they can do all the work. If you have a group, there is no time for one-on-one assistance, which means you’ll make kits. Yes, a kit is rather “cookie-cutter,” but there are ways to offer choices.

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