Like the Maccabees of old, we can dispel the darkness with faith and Jewish pride

By Student Rabbi Matt Derrenbacher

With so much of our time spent in the dark (before the winter solstice occurs Dec. 21), this time of year can be particularly difficult for a lot of us.

The pandemic rages on; antisemitism continues to run rampant in communities and on college campuses; social and political division drives communities, friends and even families apart.

It is at this time of deep darkness that we need to let the light in. But how do we accomplish this difficult task?

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Intersecting calendars can bring complications, or a fun combo of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah

By Debra Israel

Hanukkah begins the evening of Sunday, Nov. 28. And while not quite the same as our historic Hanukkah/Thanksgiving combination (which we last experienced in 2013), it’s still pretty close!

Personally, I love thinking about the culinary possibilities, such as enjoying my leftover cranberry dishes with latkes instead of just applesauce. I’ll make sure to keep some sweet potatoes to grate and add to the latke recipe.

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Cleaning up clutter might just make more time for Daf Yomi and other spiritual pursuits

By Betsy Frank

I recently listened to a presentation about reducing stress in our lives. One tip suggested cleaning up clutter. Oops! If that’s the case, I am in trouble!

But just today I inadvertently came upon an opportunity to clean up some clutter.

I had begun searching my computer for an old column to recycle. Unfortunately, I carelessly clicked the wrong button, and all my old columns were gone.

Then I got to thinking, do I really need to keep all my old files? Probably not.

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Rabbi Emil Leipziger repudiated violence as he mourned Ida Finkelstein and George Ward

By Scott Skillman

On February 27, 1901, Rabbi Emil Leipziger led a group in solemn prayer. Still in his early 20s and just a year into his term at reform congregation Temple Israel in Terre Haute, Rabbi Leipziger now presided over the funeral of a Jewish woman barely three years younger than himself.

The rabbi mourned along with a shocked community dealing with tragic loss. And yet, when he said, “Let us repudiate this act of violence,” he did not speak only of the murdered Ida Finkelstein.

He was speaking about a historic, criminal act perpetrated by Terre Haute’s citizens in the lynching of Finkelstein’s accused murderer, a Black man named George Ward.

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