UHC members can relate to the PBS program, “There Are Jews Here”

By B. Scott Skillman

The PBS program “There Are Jews Here” follows the untold stories of four once-thriving American Jewish communities that are now barely holding on. As communities struggle with aging congregants and dwindling interest, families are moving to larger cities with more robust congregations.

A portrait of people who are doing their part to keep the Jewish spirit alive, the film celebrates religious diversity in small-town America.

Beyond that description, I found the 90-minute show to provide an excellent representation of our own experience and many of the ideas we have tried or considered in order to encourage engagement.

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On Presidents Day, Jews in America honor patriarchs and matriarchs

By Student Rabbi Jonathan Falco

You may be wondering, “what’s the big deal about Presidents Day?” Aside from local school closings on account of the regional holiday, the average American pays little attention to Presidents Day.

I would argue, however, that Presidents Day is in fact a very Jewish kind of holiday and one that is indeed worthy of reflection.

What is the connection between Judaism and this commemorative day in February honoring our country’s past leaders? The link lies in a rabbinic value concept known as Zechut Avot.

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Song is universal, and enriches our worship and spiritual lives

By Betsy Frank

During a recent Shabbat, we read the Torah portion B’shalach, which included the famous Mi Chamochah, or Song of the Sea.

This song is so integral to our liturgy that I wonder if we sometimes just sing it out of habit, without thinking about the lyrics.

When we sing out of habit, we might pay little attention, but we sing. Our prayers, even without music, have a rhythmic, musical quality. If we daven in the traditional way, we may sway with the rhythm of the prayers.

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Legally speaking: Medical power of attorney is fine, but hold that conversation with your doctor

By B. Scott Skillman

This month, I want to speak more about advance directives, also known as medical power of attorney, or appointment of health care representative, as it is more commonly labeled.

These are a statutorily created documents used by medical providers to permit a person or persons to make decisions about health care.

Like other powers of attorney, this document releases the doctor or hospital from liability for allowing someone, not you, to make health care decisions. It also permits this individual to receive personal information about your health care that would otherwise be private, and thus inaccessible to them.

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