Rachel Zacharia always knew she was Jewish. Her father, a Party official, read and wrote in Yiddish, and her parents spoke Yiddish with friends. But she didn't start thinking about her Jewish identify until 1968.
It is a fact that the story of America cannot be truthfully told without the story of people of African descent. If we are going to close the gap and confront racism, we need to learn and understand others' history and way of life.
The sight of pregnant women and small children was too much for me; I left their presence in tears. But it was when my mother refused to allow me to visit because she "needed to build a relationship with the one who could still give her grandchildren" that I felt truly broken.
I look forward to the sermons, which remind me of my Chumash and Talmud classes, where hidden meaning behind the scriptures and stories are revealed. I get excited when the pastor references the Old Testament, or a passage that I recognize, and imbues it with a new perspective.
For many years, I and many other people I know have had trouble commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. I can't bear to view the official state ceremonies on television, broadcast from Yad Vashem, with all their clichés and us-against-the-world ideology.
Today, we join together to remember the six million European Jews murdered by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust. The people of Israel and those from all around the world will pause today for Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom Hashoah.
The organizers behind the Jewish Rescuers Citation Award ceremony view believe it is especially important to expose Jewish youth to the phenomena of Jewish rescue during the Holocaust as a model for Jewish solidarity and courage.
Today, on Equal Pay Day, we lift up the fight against wage discrimination, an affront to our moral sensibility. Unjustly paying some workers less than others undermines their value and their dignity as human beings and constitutes an intolerable act of discrimination.
It's the shoes that make me cry. In a photo of my mother from 1924, I am drawn to her scuffed Mary Jane shoes. I remember my grandchildren toddling in their Robeez. In 1944-45, Jews were told to remove their shoes and then shot and pushed into the river. Only their shoes remained behind. Some of them were so tiny.
People who have converted to Judaism often tell me about holiday overload. They go from celebrating a handful of holidays to almost a dozen. Yet, above and beyond the holidays we have certain practices, one of which I did not learn about until rabbinical school.
Some might suggest that it is the charisma, success or personalities of my Muslim friends that draws me to their words. Yet, I think this understates the meaning of the progressive and distinctively American form of Islam that they articulate and live out.
The Ba'al Tefila (prayer leader) was old, probably in his 80s, his complexion wan, his hair snow white and thin, his posture stooped, but his voice was strong enough to reach every part of the large main sanctuary.
What does it mean to be "Israel"? We must remember that there is an "Israel" broader than the State. "Israel" is the name of a People also.
We need to understand why there is anti-Semitism to begin with because despite numerous explanations, we have not figured out why it has endured for so many centuries, constantly wearing new attires, and most important, what can be done to finally uproot it.
Israel has existed before Netanyahu and it will exist after him. He does not represent the best, most humane, moral and creative aspects of Israel.
I never liked Passover when I was a kid. Sedars were long and tedious. We couldn't eat anything until all of the blessings were said, and all of the commentaries were read in Hebrew and sometimes in both Hebrew and English.