Tag Archives: Jewish Identity


Joining the Jewish Community in Boston

We stumbled upon Parenting Through a Jewish Lens completely by accident. I was discussing ideas for charitable giving with someone at Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), and at the end of the conversation the person suggested this program would be a good fit for us. He was definitely right. I grew up in the atheist Soviet Union, where religious and cultural Jewish practices were strongly discouraged. By the time I arrived… Read Article →

Vote Ballot

The Power to Choose

Do you miss the campaign ads on television? I know I do … not! (If you are Xfinity owners, you could skip all the ads by watching your shows On Demand. Sshh! Don’t tell the candidates!) Putting the commercials aside, this past Election Day demonstrated that every votes count. Be it the gubernatorial race here in the commonwealth, or the senatorial race in New Hampshire, if you voted, it mattered. And… Read Article →

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Creativity in Jewish Education

What would it be like if the desired result of Jewish Education was not textual literacy nor Jewish continuity nor Identity development but the cultivation of a creative disposition; to act b’zelem elohim – as the Creator acts? Over this past year, we convened at Hebrew College a group of Boston Jewish Educators who lead a variety of educational institutions. Following Dr. Jack Wertheimer’s exhortation that we should ‘link the… Read Article →


Relief Trip to Seabright

The 2014 Relief Trip to Seabright New Jersey was a moving experience. 19 Prozdor volunteers drove to Seabright on the morning of Wednesday April 24th, not many of us knew what to expect. Hurricane Sandy struck Seabright, New Jersey so hard that an organization solely for lifting people back on their feet was born: Seabright Rising. The town in which we worked is very small, everyone knows about Seabright Rising… Read Article →


“Wow”–The Jewish Story in Context

“Wow.” Although somewhat inarticulate this word seems to best describe my initial feelings as I complete my Me’ah reading for the week. However, this is no ordinary week. This is the final week, the final reading of two years, four semesters, forty Thursday nights and one hundred hours of class. It’s a strange feeling, this “wow.” There is a wonderful sense of accomplishment in this “wow.” Although, once I began… Read Article →


Finding Friedan in Barcelona

This month our Rising Voices Fellows respond to statements by and about Jewish feminist icons. Be sure to check the JWA blog each Tuesday for a new post from our fellows—and check out the great educational resources provided by our partner organization, Prozdor. It was August of 1970, and a group of 50,000 women marched proudly together in New York, marking the 50th anniversary of women’s suffrage. Betty Friedan, a feminist activist, organized the event… Read Article →

Embrance Diversity

Diversity: A Reflection

Growing up in Belmont, I knew about Bedford in two distinct ways. First, that the Marshall’s in Bedford was the best one around. Second, that Bedford was on the way out to “The Swamp,” which is what my parents called Great Meadows. That was about it. Now that I’ve been a homeowner and resident in Bedford for seven years, though, it’s quite surprising to see Bedford in the international headlines… Read Article →

Ilana Pavlotsky

Ballroom Dancing and Bat Mitzvah Blackout: A Conversation with Ilana Pavlotsky

Ilana Pavlotsky is a junior at Needham High School and recently returned from traveling to Ukraine on Havayah, a fellowship run by Prozdor for teens from Boston, Haifa, and Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, to run 10 days of programming for Jewish elementary school students there. Ilana, who comes from a Ukrainian family herself, is a passionate ballroom dancer and active at Temple Beth Avodah in Newton. Before she left, we spoke with her… Read Article →


Why Ukraine?

When I tell folks I am leaving the country on Saturday, and explain where I’m headed, they inevitably ask: “Why Ukraine?” I could choose to launch into a history lesson of the relationship between Boston and Dnepropetrovsk, of the Jewish pioneers from the area who made this burgeoning community a priority for their time and resources. I could go into our partnership with Haifa to help build stronger relationships between… Read Article →


So Much More Than Bagels

“Parenting Through a Jewish Lens.” Rather self-explanatory course name, one would think at first. A course on parenting, that is, raising your kids, through a Jewish lens, meaning…well, what exactly? Perhaps not as self-explanatory as one might think at first, given the broad experiences and backgrounds one can fit into the idea of being Jewish. After all, while some of us consider ourselves Jewish because of the full observance of… Read Article →