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“Blessed Pizza,” a Story

by Jeff Greenberg   HOW HE CAME to be locked into the sanctuary alone overnight was a story he would tell over and over. In truth it was a mix of serendipity and stupidity. The evening was late. The absent-minded caretaker left at 7:00; the heavy walnut door of the hall was double-bolted. Stupid. It was […]

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Inclusion and the Soul of a Synagogue

by Rabbi Jeremy Kridel From the Autumn 2017 issue of Jewish Currents “WE DON’T REALLY think we can do that.” So ends my wife’s phone conversation with staff at a Jewish camp and after-school program. What they could not do was include our son, then 8, in their activities. They were unprepared to provide services for […]

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“Norman” — Why Trash the Jewish Community?

by Rabbi Elliot B. Gertel ALTHOUGH WELL-ACTED and creatively shot, Joseph Cedar’s Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, is a cynical and nihilistic assault on Jewish community. The title character, Norman Oppenheimer (Richard Gere), is a lonely New York Jewish man of limited means who seeks the attention of […]

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Bridging the Jewish Secular-Religious Divide

by Lawrence Bush Discussed in this essay: Putting God Second: How to Save Religion from Itself, by Rabbi Donniel Hartman. Beacon Press, 2016, 180 pages. AS THE EDITOR of Jewish Currents, which tags itself on the cover as a “secular, progressive voice,” I am occasionally invited to synagogues to speak about secular Jewish identity. I […]

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A Stone’s Throw

A Short Story by Gene Grabiner HERE WE GO AGAIN… Nathan Solomon Goldstein arrived at Temple Beth‑Shalom in Crestwood by 4:10 PM, as he did every Wednesday. Hebrew School: Cantor Moskowitz would teach him what was forgotten in the move from the Bronx to Westches­ter, or left earlier in Poland, in Latvia, in Romania, in […]

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Upper West Side: Hands in Pockets

by Susan Reimer-Torn Whenever I choose to take an afternoon cappuccino break at a popular Upper West Side coffee shop, I am hoping to be regaled with some overheard conversation at the communal table. One recent, greyish midweek afternoon, I was not disappointed. The two studious-looking young women facing me were deep into deliberation. One […]

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Billy Yalowitz: A Secularist in Synagogue

by Billy Yalowitz The following is a Yom Kippur talk the author delivered for the Avodah section of the service, at Kol Tzedek Shul, West Philadelphia, September 26, 2012/5773 Gut yontif. I’m worried as I stand here in front of you, my first time talking as a member of this synagogue, or any synagogue. I’m […]

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February 20: Jimi Hendrix in Shul

Jimi Hendrix, a 16-year-old high school student, played his first public gig with an unnamed band in the basement of Temple De Hirsch, a Reform synagogue in Seattle, Washington, on this date in 1959. Hendrix was actually auditioning for the band, and his wild playing and show-off style (dropping to his knees, sticking out his […]

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