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Honorable Mensch-ion

A World of Faith


A journalist recently told me that she was in conversation with a friend who refused to bring children into this broken world. She felt it would be ethically irresponsible. She then asked me, “Rabbi, what should I tell my friend?”

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Different Perspectives


WhatsApp is a brilliant way of communicating with family around the world. My extended family, which stretches from Los Angeles to Philadelphia, has a WhatsApp chat group where we share updates of our lives in real time.

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Crying & Laughing


Why do we have the different sounds of the shofar? The Rabbis answer that people around the world cry differently. Some moan, some sob, and some whimper. The shevarim and teruah calls echo those distinct manners of crying. Together on Rosh Hashana, we hear the cries of the world.

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Handshakes


First days of school are always nerve wracking and exciting. In my middle and high school, there was a tradition on the first day. The senior class would line up in front of the school. Every single student and faculty member would walk down the line shaking the hands of each senior. We would gather as a school community and the headmaster would explain the history behind the handshake. The popular theory goes that by extending your empty right hand, a stranger could show that they were not holding weapons and bore no ill will toward one another. Another explanation is that the handshake was a symbol of good faith when making an oath or promise. When we clasp hands, we show that our word is a sacred bond.

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Shofar is Here


When I was a child, an alarm clock sat on my bed stand. It was a real alarm clock-not a phone with a ring, but an old-fashioned clock with a bell. On some days, I dreaded that sound ringing in my ear, and on other days, I could not wait for the ring to wake me up for exciting days ahead.

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Fear


On a family trip to San Francisco, we visited Alcatraz. As we walked up the steep hill to the cell block which housed the country’s top criminals, our tour guide said, “The guards and their families kept their doors unlocked at night—they knew the bad guys were all locked up.”

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