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Parshat Shemot:
Of Stars and Civil Disobedience

Seventy descendants of Yaakov came down to Egypt. The seventy increased in number and filled the land. (v.1-7) After Yosef and his generation died, a new Pharaoh came into power who no longer knew Yosef. (v. 6-8) He informed his subjects that the Israelite population had multiplied and needed to be managed with cunning, or they might join with adversaries of Egypt in war and aggression. (v. 9-10) The Egyptians let taskmasters loose on them with the order to construct storage cities…

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Parshat Vaeira:
Be the Change

The first three Parshas of Sefer Shmos recount the story of the Jews exile in Egypt. In Parshas Shmos, Pharoah begins his campaign of slavery and genocide, and in Parshas Bo we are out of Egypt and under the protective cloud of Hashem. This week’s parsha comes between these two pivotal shifts in the condition of the Jewish people. Parshas Vaeira is the turning point and start of our journey from galus to geula. Parshas Shmos ends with Moshe Rabbeinu going to Pharaoh as instructed by Gd, to demand freedom…

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Really.
Unpacking.

By Tonda Case I don’t have enough time or space to take anyone – including myself – quickly through the process of really unpacking my experience of The JOC Convening. Really. Unpacking. I’m still waking up at night reaching for my laptop to write some random thing. Connected, these “random things” comprise my living, intentional love letter to my Beloved JOC Community. In gratitude, really, for who we have been, who we are and who we have yet to become. Today, I can share what I can share; my thoughts are still flowing in a serious stream of consciousness. Hands often…

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Moses Loved
the Brown Sugar

This is the dvar Torah read at Antoinette and Jay Deitcher’s wedding that was held at Congregation Ohav Shalom in Albany, NY on June 19th, 2016.   Torah Portion: B’haalot’kha– Numbers 8:1-12:16 When preparing for Annie and my wedding, Rabbi Dan told me that I didn’t have to give a dvar Torah. Annie and I did everything else super Jewy for this wedding, Ashkenazi style—I rocked a kittel, we didn’t see each other the week prior to the ceremony, and we broke our fast with smoked salmon and noodle kugel. It was Jewy enough; I could back out on giving…

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Shavuot and the
Orlando Shooting

This past week I reveled in the joy of Shavuot. I imagined myself at Mt. Sinai with every other Jew dancing and celebrating the receiving of the Torah. Here in St. Louis, I participated in the community Shavuot night long celebration. The evening was sponsored by local Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Orthodox shuls. Various learning sessions were taught by members of the St. Louis Jewish community, individuals who were Black, White, Gay, Straight, Cis, and Trans. It was a wondrous snapshot of what the world should and could be. My joy, however, was saddened when I heard the news about…

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New Conversations
for 2016

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been writing for the Jewish Multiracial Network for an entire year. It’s been a year of deep introspection, reflection, and learning about whom I am as a person and who I want to become. While I am excited to continue contributing to this incredible organization and learning about Jews of Color, the end of 2015 signifies a milestone in my life.   In my first blog post, I talked about how excited I was to embark on this journey and add my unique perspective and insight on how the Jewish community treats Jews of…

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Black Lives Matter
Including the Jewish Ones

“What do you think about Black Lives Matter? Should Jewish organizations support this movement?”   An audience member posed these questions to me earlier this summer as part of a panel discussion on creating inclusive communities at the Union for Reform Judaism’s Kutz Camp in Warwick, New York and within NFTY, the Reform Jewish youth movement. While I knew many members of the audience of more than 300 staff and participants, this was one of the first times that I was speaking with them about the challenges that confront Jews of Color. As I briefly considered these questions, I was…

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