Why I’ve Decided to Join a Synagogue

Posted on October 16th, 2017
BY SOFI HERSHER for ReformJudaism.org

When I was 9 years old, I watched several large sections of my synagogue burn to the ground. It was 1999, and Sacramento, California, was in the midst of a spree of white supremacist violence that would claim the lives of two gay men, and see fires set to several synagogues and a local abortion clinic. I can still smell the smoke.

In times such as these, it is not just buildings that are damaged. Acts of hate damage our minds and our bodies, our individual and collective sense of security, our identity, and our place in the world. Back then, the entire congregation, as well as large swaths of the greater community, came together to rebuild. Events were held to reject discrimination; a hate crimes task force was launched; a library was remade. In many ways, Sacramento became a better place to live than it was before. In the aftermath of destruction, came collaboration and solidarity and hope.

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How Hilde Bruch Brought Eating Disorders To The Forefront

Posted on October 9th, 2017
By Isabel Kirsch for Fresh Ink for Teens

I hope one day we can eliminate the judgements surrounding women's bodies.

Editor's Note: Isabel Kirsch was a finalist for the Norman E. Alexander Award for Excellence in Jewish Student Writing. Nearly 70 contestants from around the country answered the following question: "Choose a living or deceased Jewish-American woman and write about her legacy in any field such as law, medicine, sports, politics, entertainment, and more. Why are her accomplishments meaningful to you?" The contest was sponsored by the Jewish-American Hall of Fame and The Jewish Week Media Group. 

Descriptions of eating disorders date back centuries, yet it took until the 1970s for the pioneering research of doctor, psychologist and writer Hilde Bruch to bring the issue to public attention. Born in Germany in 1904, Bruch received her doctorate in medicine in 1929 and practiced in Germany until fleeing increasing anti-Semitism in 1933. She moved first to London and then to New York, becoming an American citizen in 1940. Beginning in the early 1940s, Bruch conducted groundbreaking research on childhood obesity and eating disorders, especially anorexia nervosa.

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Relating Ancient Judaism To The Modern Era

Posted on October 2nd, 2017

by: Noah Phillips for Fresh Ink for Teens


How American Jewish teens, like me, combine authentic customs with contemporary relevance.

Growing up in the 21st century, American Jewish teenagers are faced with the question of how to honor traditional rituals while modernizing other practices. Identifying with the world’s oldest monotheistic religion makes this process a bit challenging, especially for teens living in 2017.

Interestingly, or discouragingly, depending on perspective, most American Jewish teens today describe Judaism using terminology of an ethnic or cultural group, but not a religion. The 2016 report by The Jewish Education Project, “Generation Now: Understanding and Engaging Jewish Teens Today,” explains that the vast majority of non-Orthodox, American Jewish teens today consider religious practices as open to interpretation and adjustment.

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Why Teenage Brains Are So Hard to Understand

Posted on September 25th, 2017
By Alexandra Sifferlin for Time Magazine

The following story is excerpted from TIME's special edition, The Science of Childhood, which is available in stores, at the TIME Shop and at Amazon.

When Frances Jensen’s eldest son, Andrew, reached high school, he underwent a transformation. Frances’s calm, predictable child changed his hair color from brown to black and started wearing bolder clothing. It felt as if he turned into an angst-filled teenager overnight. Jensen, now the chair of the neurology department at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, wondered what happened and whether Andrew’s younger brother would undergo the same metamorphosis. So she decided to use her skills as a neuroscientist to explore what was happening under the hood. “I realized I had an experiment going on in my own home,” says Jensen, author of The Teenage Brain.

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What Jewish College Students Really Care About

Posted on September 18th, 2017
BY SARA WEISSMAN for The Jewish Week

Lesson 1: Jewish students don’t exist in a vacuum — or in a separate realm on campus comprised solely of Hillel BBQs and BDS protests.

"What do Jewish millennials want to read?”

“What’s going on in the minds of future Jewry?” 

As the editor of New Voices, a national online magazine written by and for Jewish college students, I field these questions constantly — at conferences, Shabbat tables, blind dates and board meetings.

Thankfully, New Voices has always had a simple answer. And per Jewish tradition, our answer is actually another question: “What do Jewish millennials want to write?” 

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