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PEP-RJ's Blog

by Terry Glavin

Against the global scourges of poverty, hunger, war and disease, it would not be quite fair to say that after the unprecedented 15-year global effort undertaken through its Millennium Development Goals, the United Nations is now making a sow’s ear out of a silk purse with the successor strategy that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon announced.

It’s not that the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals are unworthy, overly ambitious, unreasonable or unrealistic. It’s not just that the grand design for the world order by the year 2030 is an unwieldy hodgepodge of...

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The Days of Awe bring us the opportunity and obligation to reflect on the past year and recommit ourselves to improvement for the coming year. We recognize those things we wish we had handled differently, in a more positive or appropriate manner, and we celebrate the opportunity to start again.

This can be true not only for individuals, but also for organizations. School is back in session and our routines change to accommodate this—even those without children are affected by different traffic and shopping rhythms. The WRJ office always seems busier in the fall, whether it is...

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by Susan Pfeffer

This week’s Torah portion is Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8), which means “When you enter.” In this parashah Moses tells the people of Israel that after they have settled in the land that God gave them, they should bring the first fruits of their orchard to the Holy Temple and declare gratitude for all that God has done for them.

The instructions for bringing the First Fruit say that when the Israelite comes to the sanctuary he should identify himself historically, as in this familiar quote: “A wandering Aramean was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and...

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by Marilyn Morrison

Parashat Ki Teitzei ("When you go out") contains a significant portion of the Torah's laws: no less than 74 mitzvot (out of 613) have been counted as deriving from this parashah.

Building the ideal Israelite society is an overriding concern of this passage. The civil, criminal, and family laws in Deuteronomy address relationships within households, among neighbors, and between the vulnerable in society and those more fortunate. While the laws in Shof’tim, the preceding parashah, address public officials, the laws in this parashah focus on what could be...

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by Debra Bennett

On the Sunday morning after Thanksgiving, Rabbi Satz announced that our post-Shacharit bagel-and-coffee conversation would have to move from the boardroom in 15 minutes, unless we wanted to stay to join the new Chai Mitzvah class. My mother and I, being curious women, stayed to join the class of eight.

The topic of that first class was "Adult Rites of Passage," a fitting way to begin since what falls between ages 13 and 113 is part of what Chai Mitzvah addresses, and Chai Mitzvah itself is a...

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