Sharing Our Stories- w/ Reverend Dr. Tony Crisp



I had the privilege this evening to share the stage with @DrTonyCrisp at the @AIPAC #NEGala . We shared a bit of our stories and talked about our love for and commitment to, the State of Israel.

At a time when people of different faiths, political parties and social views seem to talk with one another less and less it was an honor to stand with my colleague and new friend to model what is possible when we celebrate what binds us rather than obsessing on what divides us.

I’m hoping to invite him to come speak to the TSTI community in the very near future.



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First-Hand From Paris, a Reform Rabbi’s Perspective

This letter comes from Rabbi Tom Cohen. He heads a reform congregation in Paris. It was shared with my by TSTI member Ellen Lewis Rice who notes that she and TSTI Past-President Jay Rice met the Parisian Rabbi Cohen a few years ago when he led their group on a tour of the Marais and some other points of interest in Paris. He offers some first-hand thoughts about recent events and writes…

Dear Friends,

Please forgive me for this rather impersonal group letter, rather than a personal note to each one of you. Do know that given the time, I’d prefer otherwise!

That being said, it is truly amazing the tremendous number of phone calls, SMS, email messages, linkedin messages and facebook messages I have received since last Wednesday. How so very true is the Talmudic statement in Shevuot (39a) declaring, “Kol yisrael arevim zeh bazeh”, meaning ‘all of Israel …

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Hanukkah Lights Day Five- Cantor Moses on “Adopting” a US Soldier

imageThe other day we focused on Ron Gross’ involvement with Friends of the IDF. Support for Israeli soldiers is important. Thanking and supporting our own troops is as well. That’s exactly what Cantor Moses does by “adopting” a members of the US armed services.

From Cantor Moses:

When I married my husband I also married into a family with a long and honorable military background. My brother-in-law, an active duty Marine was stationed in Iraq just after I met him. It was during his tour of duty that I really wanted to support him and the other amazing young men and women who, sometimes in spite of their personal politics, have chosen to serve our country. Whatever your personal feelings about the operations in which the men and women of our armed forces are engaged, they deserve our thanks, our respect, and even a little treat now and then to …

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Hannukah Lights Day Four- Ron Gross’ Work with Friends of the IDF

IMG_3974-0.JPGOne way that my wife, Peggy, and I enjoy helping make a difference is through supporting the Friends of Israel Defense Forces. The “FIDF” helps the Israeli armed forces – the front line of defense who keep the State of Israel safe, who keep democracy alive and strong in the Middle East and who allow the Jews of the world to have a homeland where they are always welcome.

The Israel Defense Forces or “The IDF” is made up of men and women from all walks of life and from all parts of the Jewish world and whose mission it is to defend the existence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state of Israel, to protect the inhabitants of Israel and to combat all forms of terrorism which threaten daily life. Of interest to those in the United States, perhaps, is the fact that at any given time there are …

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Hanukah Lights Day 3- Jamian Probber on His Work with Community Hope

IMG_3973-0.JPGSince 1985, our non-profit organization Community Hope has provided housing and essential services to young adults and individuals in recovery from a debilitating mental illness. In 2004, we channeled our experience in residential recovery programs to help our former servicemen and women in dire need, opening the largest transitional housing program in New Jersey for homeless veterans. Community Hope was started in 1985 by families and mental health professionals seeking a safe haven in the community where young adults could continue their recovery from chronic mental illness. They opened our first therapeutic residence and recruited caring, professional counselors who could assist individuals in making a successful transition back to community and family life after many months, often years, of repeated psychiatric hospitalization.

I was initially introduced to Community Hope through a good friend and associate in the not for profit world after I had expressed an interest in becoming involved …

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Hanukah Lights Day Two- Emma Joy On Starting, “Girls Helping Girls. Period.”

lights2I learned something recently that really upset me.  Feminine hygiene products are not covered by food stamps. Girls and women all over the country, and right in my hometown, miss school and work because they simply can’t afford these basic necessities.

Facts and figures related to this issue aren’t easy to find.  But I managed to do some basic math.  Studies show women use approximately 20-25 items (tampons and/or pads) each month.   The best seller on is Tampax Pearl, at $8.99 for a box of 36.  22 items a month, 12 months in a year… a woman will need about eight boxes each year.  That’s about $70 worth of feminine products.  Maybe that’s not so much to you or me.  But for a woman or family that is already struggling to get by, $70 is simply an impossibility.  And that’s heart breaking.  Basic care products should not be considered …

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Hanukkah Lights Day One- Michael Schwamm on His Work as an Advisor to Outward Bound Center for Peacebuilding

Screenshot 2014-12-17 09.23.59As a long-standing member of the TSTI community, I have listened to and participated in many discussions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I believe, however, that I am the first to bring a Palestinian to a TSTI Shabbat service.

The Palestinian was a young man named Alaa Handam, who lives in Acco – a beautiful walled city on the sea near Haifa. Alaa is an alum of the Israeli – Palestinian Emerging Leaders Program, an initiative sponsored by an organization called Outward Bound Peacebuilding that I have been involved with and supported since 2007. He came to TSTI in May of 2013, along with one of the Israeli Jewish participants, Liat Hadad,and together they shared their story of their experience with the Outward Bound Peacebuilding program.

In his own words Alaa stated, “In the Emerging Leaders Program, Israelis and Palestinians meet for the first time in the wilderness, in the middle …

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This Times of Israel Story Is Truly Touching- Jewish couple names son after Druze cop killed in terror attack Read more: Jewish couple names son after Druze cop killed in terror attack


This is one of those stories that touches the heart. As the Times of Israel is reporting…

Zidan isn’t a name usually heard at a Jewish circumcision, but a New York couple gave their newborn son the moniker to honor a Druze policeman killed while responding to a terror attack on a Jerusalem synagogue last month.

Alexander Chester, a corporate real estate attorney, told The Times of Israel that he and his wife, Jennifer, a medical resident at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, wanted to make sure that Zidan Saif’s name would be perpetuated within the Jewish community, naming their son Yaakov Zidan.

Read more: Jewish couple names son after Druze cop killed in terror attack | The Times of Israel
Follow us: @timesofisrael on Twitter | timesofisrael on Facebook

Read the full post

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Important Read from Ari Shavit

Arei Shavit, author of My Promised Land, has penned an important piece about his perspective on the upcoming Israeli election. While those of us in the US won’t be voting it is an important insight into the Democratic process currently unfolding in the Jewish State and an interesting look at the debate taking place within Israeli society.…

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