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This post was originally published on Rabbi Paul Kipnes' blog and has been republished here with the authors' permission.

Back in the day, thirteen-year-old Jewish boys and girls became adults. Their parents were invited to recite the blessing: Baruch shep’tarnu mei-ha-onsho shel zeh – Blessed is the One who has freed us from the responsibility for this child. Parents marked the moment that they were no longer responsible for the (...

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A version of this blog post ran in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and has been republished here with the author's permission. 

As he told his story, our patient’s eyes welled with tears.  A few years ago, his wife had started to have worrying symptoms, but despite lifelong employment they were uninsured, and were still too young for Medicare, and so she let the months pass.  Finally, this couple made...

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Tree in sunlight

The night of January 30 and day of January 31 mark the 15th of the Hebrew month of Sh’vat, or Tu BiSh'vat. The holiday started as a tax holiday, and was mentioned in the Mishnah as the “birthday for the trees.” It acted as the marker for when a tree became a year older with regards to a host of mitzvot centered around the annual produce of fruit trees. Taxes are still linked with the natural world around us; the recent tax bill contained devastating...

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Jewish protesters holding signs outside ICE San Francisco offices


On Friday, January 26th, Jewish clergy from across the Bay Area, community leaders, and everyday citizens gathered outside of the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices in San Francisco to declare: Let My People Stay, and show our solidarity with our immigrant neighbors.

Last week, we read news reports that ICE officers were planning massive raids in the Bay Area, potentially seeking to arrest more than 1,500 undocumented immigrants. Our local communities were abuzz with rising fear and uncertainty. I have felt sadness and anger as I realize that even being a...

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Refugees Welcome banner at a protest


On January 27, 2017 the Trump administration signed an executive order barring entry to all Syrian refugees to the United States and suspending the U.S. refugee program for 120 days, the first step in a year charged with discriminatory policies that restrict the rights of immigrants and refugees, especially Muslims.

This Saturday marks a year since this ban was introduced, the first in a series of three discriminatory travel bans issued over the...

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