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Seeing the Unseen

Over the last few weeks, the astronomy world watched each step of the James Webb Space Telescope unfold. Aside from all the usual nervousness surrounding a rocket launch, there were 344 single-point failures as it tried to help us see farther, deeper, and more clearly into the reaches of deep space. Miraculously, each step worked exactly as planned – NASA was hoping things would go smoothly, but with rocket science, a lot can go wrong even if the mission is well-planned and designed. There was a palpable sense of relief as the......

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When Faith Preempts Facts

Our Torah is filled with stories of remarkable courage, leaps of faith, and ventures into the unknown. From Abraham leaving his homeland at God’s behest to his near-sacrifice of his son, we learn from our very first patriarch the ways that faith – often of the “blind” variety – is central to our collective story. But for all the dramatic leaps taken by our ancestors in scripture, one of them stands out among the rest. One of them, in fact, that isn’t even explicitly mentioned in Torah! After a treacherous race out......

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The Plague of Uncertainty

Throughout Moses’ showdown with Pharaoh, there is one overarching, emotional plague that God wreaks upon the Egyptians: uncertainty. They do not know when the litany of discomforts, outrages, upsets, frustrations, pains, and fears will end. We gain insight into the Egyptian mindset just after Moses pronounces that God will bring locusts to eat whatever remains of the crops after the hail. Moses departs Pharaoh’s court and then we read (Exodus 10:7): “Pharaoh’s courtiers said to him, ‘How long shall this one be a snare to us? Let the people go to worship......

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When Success Is Still Challenging 

The other night, my wife and I were watching TV when a Christmas ad came up, telling people about “holiday specials.” “But our holiday is over!” I somewhat snarkily said. Christmas simply dominates the American landscape, and I still can’t decide if I prefer whether someone accidentally wishes me “Merry Christmas” (implying it’s something I celebrate) or “Happy Holidays” (which is both bland and eliminates Christians’ religious connection to the holiday, even as the color schemes are all red and green). Even if you’re deeply secure in your Jewish identity, Christmastime reminds......

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Have We Stopped Dreaming?

In times of prolonged pain, be it emotional or physical, our world constricts and perspectives contract. We focus on the moment-to-moment or the day-to-day. Right now, this describes many of us. The waves of pandemic (and waves of variants) evoke waves of trauma that we have yet to process. We have long since put aside aspirations of self-actualization and seek merely to preserve aspects of ourselves from two years ago. Uncertainty of the future is itself a source of pain, and we have stopped dreaming about what it might hold – or......

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