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174 Articles

jews and gender

When God Had Two Genders
December 21, 2016
Author: Rich Robinson

Humanity has brought sin into the world, resulting in estrangement from God, our own selves, one another and nature. We are no longer who God intended us to be—whether we identify as male, female, or one of Facebook’s 58 genders.

Continue Reading Reading Time: 7 minutes

Has Hanukkah Passed Its Expiration Date? A Slightly Contrarian—But Not Really—Reflection
December 19, 2016
Author: Rich Robinson

Quick, when I say “Hanukkah,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? I admit that I thought of latkes before anything else. I light a menorah each year, but it’s an electric one (a safety matter, plus I got a really nice one at Bed Bath & Beyond), so there’s no scent of burning […]

Continue Reading Reading Time: 8 minutes

“Strange” International Facts About Hanukkah and Christmas
Author: Rich Robinson

Jews might be surprised to learn about some Hanukkah and Christmas customs that take place in countries other than their own. For example: In nineteenth-century Alsace (a region of France), two-tiered menorahs holding sixteen candles were used: one tier for the father, the other for his son. In Morocco, Algeria, and sometimes India, menorahs used […]

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Recipe: Award-Winning Potato Pancakes (Latkes)
Author: Melissa Moskowitz

I don’t like to brag, but I did win first place for this recipe at a Hanukkah party held by the Chicagoland-area Messianic community. What won the judges over? “We loved the onions,” they said. Latkes are traditionally eaten with homemade applesauce or sour cream, but some prefer their latkes with ketchup. 4 large potatoes, scrubbed […]

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Death: How Do We Respond?
August 10, 2016
Author: Rich Robinson

This article is adapted from the original which appeared in the Winter 2012 print edition of Havurah. We are republishing it in this Tisha Be’Av season. Tisha Be’Av memorializes tragedies that befell the Jewish people as a nation. It is also an appropriate season to talk about the personal tragedies that come into our lives […]

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Stories That Jews Tell (About Ourselves)
March 23, 2016
Author: Rich Robinson

We each have a paradigm through which we view our Jewish experience. What’s yours?

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Stories That Jews Tell (About Ourselves), Part Two
Author: Rich Robinson

We all bring certain assumptions to the paradigm through which we view our Jewish experience.

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The Day Purim Wasn’t Happy
March 14, 2016
Author: Rich Robinson

The day before Purim is traditionally a fast day in remembrance of Haman’s plot to kill the Jews. Purim itself is supposed to be a happy occasion, celebrating the subsequent deliverance of the Jewish people from genocide during the days of King Ahasuerus and Queen Esther.

It was different for some Jews in March of 1942.

Continue Reading Reading Time: 3 minutes

Thank God for Chesed
October 28, 2015
Author: Rich Robinson

What is God’s chesed and why should we remember it this Thanksgiving?

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Quick tips for exploring key words in the Bible
October 27, 2015
Author: Rich Robinson

 Enrich your Bible study with a Bible dictionary and a concordance. If you are not acquainted with these resources, here is a quick overview.

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Tisha B’Av: The Saddest Day On The Jewish Calendar
July 22, 2015
Author: Rich Robinson

Here’s a great overview about a Jewish day you might not know much about…

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Shavuot – What’s Your Connection?
May 18, 2015
Author: Rich Robinson

Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, comes with many traditions. For example, tradition tells us: that on this holiday, God gave the Torah to Israel…

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Woman in Gold
April 14, 2015
Author: Rich Robinson

Ignore the underwhelming ratings on the movie web sites. Woman in Gold is a movie well worth seeing, despite critics’ complaints of heavy-handedness, bad accents, too many flashbacks, and emotional mawkishness. I found none of those things in this story of Maria Altmann, based upon actual events in the life of a Jewish Austrian who […]

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It’s TuBishevat!
February 2, 2015
Author: Rich Robinson

IT’S TU BISHEVAT!

That means that it’s the new year for trees. And it’s a day to eat some new fruit, or to eat some of the produce of Israel. Some enjoy planting trees, or having a special seder for which the menu includes fruits, nuts, or vegetables. In keeping with the agricultural theme of the holiday, we’d like you to —

MEET THE HUMAN VEGETABLE

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Welcome to Groundhog Day 2015
January 30, 2015
Author: Rich Robinson

As Groundhog Day aficionados know, if Punxsutawney Phil leaves his burrow and sees his shadow — we get six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow — spring is around the corner.

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All about rain
January 21, 2015
Author: Rich Robinson

Into every life rain must fall, but what does the Bible say about it?

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A Portrait of Messianic Jews
January 1, 2015
Author: Rich Robinson

Someone once perceptively said, “Statistics are human beings with the tears wiped off.”

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Did You Miss Kosherfest?
November 12, 2014
Author: Rich Robinson

Did You Miss Kosherfest?

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If Madison Can Be the Name of a Pitcher, Why Can’t Jesus be the Name of the Messiah?
October 31, 2014
Author: Rich Robinson

If Madison can be the name of a pitcher, why can’t Jesus be the name of the Messiah? Check out our World Series blog and leave us your comments.

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The Gospel According to Starbucks (or at least the Starbucks playlist)
October 22, 2014
Author: Rich Robinson

My local Starbucks has recently been playing Paul McCartney’s cover of the Harold Arlen–Johnny Mercer song “Accentuate the Positive.” According to Wikipedia, the song “was published in 1944. It is sung in the style of a sermon, and explains that accentuating the positive is key to happiness.”

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