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Reflections

What death can teach

By her own account, my mother is not a religious woman. She does not read the Bible, know Hebrew or put much stock in Jewish observance. She has been known to comment on my own degree of commitment to Judaism in anxious, hushed tones, the kind she uses when someone in our family is seriously ill.

My brother once told me she told him about the “weird tent with hanging fruit” in our backyard (our sukkah) and the cleaning frenzy I engage in before Passover as evidence that I’ve gone off the deep end and joined some bizarre cult.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 19 June 2014 01:48 )

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Countering racial slurs with clarity

I was ecstatic when our dear friends Barry and Bonnie called to tell us they were coming for a visit. Like most people, my husband and I rarely make time to do the wonderful “touristy” things in Tucson that others travel thousands of miles to see. So I immediately rushed to the phone to reserve a spot for the four of us for a tour at the world-renown caves located in southern Arizona. It was a glorious day and as we waited on the patio for the tour group to gather, our guide asked each of...
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A deeper way to honor our parents

America is big on holidays, especially those that relate to family. There’s a holiday for mothers in May, a special day for dads in June and a grandparents day in September that usually includes a pancake breakfast at pre-school. But what inspires these holidays is more than a positive earnings statement for Hallmark. We honor our parents and grandparents because they have given us life. The Jewish tradition teaches that there are three partners in the creation of a human being: G-d, a fathe...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 08 May 2014 03:32 )

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The day my mother stopped playing G-d

“MY dear friend Helene died last week,” my mother informed me sadly as if consoling us both. “I’ll miss her terribly. She really changed my life and the way I viewed the world.” I turned and looked into my mother’s face, aged not so much by years as by the losses and disappointments she has endured. She is not prone to “waxing philosophical” so her statement intrigued me. “What do you mean, mom?” I asked, quietly taking her hand. “Do you remember when you told me that yo...
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My grandmother’s candlesticks

I ENTERED the classroom of 32 seventh graders at the worst time imaginable — seventh period on a Friday afternoon, the weekend before winter break. I knew the deck was stacked against me. I had been warned by the very enthusiastic teacher who asked me to read my short story as part of her unit on ethnic literature, that this class was a “rowdy” group. I came prepared with two grocery bags, one filled with boxes of donuts and soda and the other with my copy of Chicken Soup for the Jewish S...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:05 )

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