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In the non-Jewish world, ours is what you would call an arranged marriage. But I dislike that term because in my mind that equals a "forced" marriage. And mine, like most others in my community, was anything but. At any time you have the option of saying no.
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I am an orthodox Jewish woman and it's something I'm proud of. I know I may seem different to you, strange even. We look different, we keep mostly to ourselves and basically live in our own little bubble. I understand you don't "get" us. But I don't understand why we deserve the hatred directed at us.
I thought about my own prayer life, which consisted almost exclusively of asking God for things. That wasn't a relationship. Passover reminded me that our spiritual journey isn't about "practicing religion" -- it's about living faith.
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As a Rabbi, I have always found it somewhat curious the way the general North American public looks upon the festival of Chanukah. While actually a relatively minor holiday in the Jewish calendar, it is given much significance in Western society.
But what I also find fascinating is the way that North America had to simultaneously transform Chanukah into a festivity that relates to the North American consciousness. If people are going to be celebrating this holiday then it better have a meaning with which these individuals can connect.
I find myself disheartened by the direction that the conversion debate is unfolding in Israel and the Diaspora. While we cannot hope to be, nor should we strive to be, uniform in our views, we have an obligation to be united as one Jewish people. It makes no sense that Orthodox converts, including those looking to make aliyah (moving to Israel), face the possibility of seeing their fully halachic conversions retroactively annulled.
Recently the Jerusalem District Court issued a long-awaited ruling: What remains of Lifta, the last undestroyed Palestinian village, will stay untouched. It was on a visit last June to Lifta where I encountered a random mix of individuals, one that represented to me the fissures of conflict while revealing some possible compromises.