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Pesah University 5781

Monday, March 15, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. Leshanah Haba-ah Biyrushalayim / Next Year in Jerusalem We say this at the end of every seder. But what does it mean, exactly? And does the yearning for Jerusalem appear in other places in the haggadah? In this second year of pandemic Passover observance, how might we think about […]

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I've Always Wondered
What Blessing Do We Say Over Hamantaschen? Originally Published February 26-27, 2021.

If our hamantaschen has fruit in it, what blessing do we say?  Do we gravitate only to the poppy seed pastries to avoid conflict? There are several rules which govern food blessings - or maybe a dozen or so - and there are six possible berakhot for various foodstuffs.  (Many of these guidelines are outlined […]

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Did the Exodus Really Happen?

Nagging Questions from the Seder with Dr. Ben Sommer This is collaboration between Temple Ohav Shalom, Congregation Beth Shalom’s Derekh, Temple Emanuel, and Temple David. Join us for this wonderful series with Dr. Ben Sommer of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Jewish identity in the Shema and many other prayers is based on an event that […]

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I've Always Wondered
What Is Shabbat Zakhor? Originally Published February 19-20, 2021.

This week is Shabbat Zakhor (שַׁבָּת זָכוֹר).  Our bar mitzvah will be leyning a special maftir aliyah from Parashat Ki Tetse (Deuteronomy 25:17-19), and chanting a special haftarah, 1 Samuel 15:1-34.  These readings are done on the Shabbat before Purim.  The Torah reading says: Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, after you left […]

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Where Pride Dwells

A Conversation with LGBTQ+ Activist and Jewish Leader, Rabbi Denise L. Eger Sunday, February 21 at 8:00 p.m. Join us for a conversation with Rabbi Denise L. Eger, a trailblazing lesbian Rabbi. Rabbi Eger will discuss her new book, Mishkan Ga’Avah: Where Pride Dwells, and share how the Pittsburgh Jewish community can better celebrate and […]

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I've Always Wondered
What Was Maria Altmann's Connection with Gustav Klimt? Originally Published February 12-13, 2021.

Maria Altmann, née Maria Victoria Bloch, was born on February 18, 1916, in Vienna, and passed away on February 7, 2011, in Los Angeles (14 Adar I, 5676  -  3 Adar I, 5771).  Her parents were Marie Therese Bauer and Gustav Bloch, and in 1917 they changed their name to Bloch-Bauer.  Maria had an aunt, […]

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I've Always Wondered
The In-Laws. Originally Published February 5-6, 2021.

This week in Parashat Yitro we read about a gentleman who - in the humble opinion of your correspondent - is the best parent-in-law ever. Just a side note - in addition to Pharaoh’s daughter, Moses had two original parents, Amram and Yokheved.  (Aaron and Miriam would have called them mom and dad as well.)  […]

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