The Most Special Person on the Planet

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by Lisa Berman, Education Center Director It’s a good day when you create a program described as “absolutely, amazingly, awesomely phenomenal.”  Frankly, it’s even better when a 12 year old says, “I thought that the girls would all have been forced to come by their moms, but we were all genuinely interested – and it […]

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An International and Multicultural Ritual Immersion

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by Gaby Zwiebach My family roots stem both from Peru and from Mexico. The cultures of these two countries have always had a strong influence in my life and in the life of my two older sisters, and eventually in the lives of our respective children. The three of us were born in Mexico to […]

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On Winter's Spring

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by Katherine Trakhtenbroit I hail from a land currently crisped by drought. There are great stretches of live oak trees and loblolly pines along the bayou; when I was small they were thick with glossy leaves and pungent needles. Now, it’s all orange and brown and parched. So, down there, we know deeply the transformative […]

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Marking Transitions

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by Jody Comins, Development and Events Coordinator My children came home from camp last week after being gone for seven weeks.  The first day, my 13 year-old daughter, Talia, took to her bed. Itouch in hand, she spent the day crying, listening to music and facebooking with friends that she just left that morning. She […]

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Getting the "Rich" out of "Ritual"

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By Leah Hart Tennen, Mikveh Center Director When I was growing up in Jackon, Mississippi (yes, there are Jews in Mississippi—but not many), the only way to be involved in the Jewish community was to go to services and religious school.  So, my family went to services most Friday nights.  As a petulant teenager, you […]

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A Calming Space

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By Jody Comins, Development and Events Coordinator “May God make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah.” “On the eve of your Bat Mitzvah, I hope that you will continue to grow and learn with all the wonderful attributes that you have already attained.” And so the blessings continued as each of the girls and […]

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The Spiritual Transition to Fatherhood

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By Max Klau Becoming a father for the first time is a big deal.  And like most big transitions, it’s easy for the deep significance of the change to get lost in details that are material, financial, logistical, and medical.  Amidst all the planning and reflecting that I was able to do with my wife, […]

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Becoming a Grandmother

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By Carol Targum During my daughter-in-law’s pregnancy, a lot of my friends told me that being a grandparent was the icing on the cake, the interest on the principal, the absolute best. It sounded wonderful. But in the last few weeks before the birth of my first grandchild, I began to think beyond the pure […]

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A Women's Birth Circle at the Shmaya Mikveh in Galilee

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Written by Rabbi Haviva Ner-David At the newly-revived religiously and socially progressive Kibbutz Hannaton in Lower Galilee, a tradition has  evolved to hold a women’s circle at our mikveh for each woman a few weeks before she is due to give birth.  Thankfully, we have located on our kibbutz a unique mikveh in the Israeli […]

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Bat Mitzvah Mania

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Written by Lisa Berman Oh to be a 12 year old girl these days. No, not because of all the Justin Bieber look-alikes in their classes, though surely that doesn’t hurt. And yes, being a 5th, 6th, or 7th grade girl is still rife with challenges – academic, social, sports, bullying, peer pressure, etc. Add […]

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Beyond the Huppah

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Imagine it.  Ten couples sitting around a table, munching on Terra Chips, hummus and carrots, mixed nuts and Peanut M&M’s; some engaged to be married, some already married, in their late 20’s and older, gay and straight, Jewish-Jewish and interfaith, and all interested in raising Jewish children.  They want to start their marriages on the […]

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