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Emission Standards

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study explores the origins of sexual puritanism in the faith: why Jewish men can’t touch themselves even while urinating, how erections lead to idol worship, and how masturbation delays the arrival of the Messiah

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Lessons From Sodom and Gomorrah

What happened in the ancient cities that drew the wrath of God?

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Menstrual Camps

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, ancient rabbis take sides on how to deal with uncertainty when it comes to ritual impurity in women

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The Cross and the ‘Mechitza’: Thoughts on Ritual Pluralism

What must Orthodox Jews give up to share prayer space with the non-Orthodox—and vice versa?

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The Birds

‘Daf Yomi’: The Talmud’s shortest and most difficult tractate is nominally about the sacrifice of feathered animals. In fact, it sets up a number of mathematical problems that delight the rabbis in their pursuit of pure knowledge.

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Ends With Benefits

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study debates the right way to use consecrated Temple leftovers without crossing holy lines

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Learning Hebrew—at Last

Without knowing the language, there was no way to fully participate in my community—not in the way I wanted to

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How I Learned to Fast

As my religious practice has shifted, I’ve finally come to understand what Yom Kippur means to me

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Mourning an Abusive Parent

How could I honor my father’s memory without denying how I felt about him? A ‘Yizkor’ prayer helped me find a way.

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Yom Kippur in Germany—Captured in an American Author’s Lost Novel

Published in 1860, Cora Wilburn’s groundbreaking book ‘Cosella Wayne’ was recently rediscovered by historian Jonathan D. Sarna, and is coming back into print

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Sacrificial Ram

Sacred meat, slaughtered animals, and blood on the altar, in this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study

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An Elegy to My ‘Shtiebel’

How I found—and lost—a religious space where I felt inspired

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Outside for the Holidays

Reconnecting with nature on Rosh Hashanah

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The High Holiday Dilemma

How interfaith couples navigate the Jewish holidays

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Captive Among the Gentiles

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study suggests contemporary secular Jews have a lot to atone for

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What My Kippah Means to Me

As a butch lesbian, wearing a yarmulke connects me to my people—and to myself

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All in the Family

When keeping kosher is a lifelong journey, your parents are along for the ride

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If a Man Gives a Woman a Lamb in Exchange for Sex

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ follows its own logic from animal sacrifice to definitions of prostitution

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All Right, Reform Judaism, Count Me In

I grew up Orthodox, looking down on Reform Judaism. Then I came out as queer and changed my opinion.

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The Rules of the Swap

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ drawing a distinction between what is permitted and what is legal

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When the Destruction of the Temple Isn’t an Abstract Historical Event

On the first Tisha B’Av after the Pittsburgh massacre, understanding the horror of destruction—and the possibility of renewed joy

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A Jew Without a Synagogue

I left my congregation seven years ago. I feel more Jewish than ever. But sometimes I do miss the sense of community.

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Your Weight in Onions

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study explores many ways to pay off a divine debt: in gold, silver, pitch, vegetables—or limbs

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Neither Less Than X nor More Than Y

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ minima and maxima decorate the memory palaces Talmudic rabbis built to sustain the oral tradition of Babylonian learning

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How Much Is a Jewish Life Worth?

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic sages make ‘valuations’ and ‘assessments’ of living people, in ancient actuarial tables with premiums paid at the Temple

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The Price of a Firstborn

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, the biblical redemption of a woman’s eldest opens logical byways into cesarean sections, stillbirths, and when Jewish life begins

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Shalom Chaver!

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, how Jewish conceptions of friendship and trust are tied up in ritual purity and levels of religious observance

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Never Too Late

Twenty residents of senior-living communities in Massachusetts prove that bat mitzvahs aren’t just for 13-year-olds

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When Does Human Life Begin?

This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study happens to pit contemporary abortion law against Jewish views of conception and viability in all animals

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Blood and Milk

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’: Why are Jews allowed to drink milk at all? Plus: what Talmudic rabbis misunderstood about menstruation and the sources of other bodily fluids. Also: the right way to sacrifice a donkey.

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