Andy Bachman

Mercury in the Bones

My teacher Irv Saposnik, of blessed memory, loved the Biblical patriarch Jacob. During our one on one learning sessions each Friday afternoon at Hillel on Langdon Street in Madison, Wisconsin, Irv ploughed into Jacob with all the tools in his…

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Wrestling for a Better Nation

Thanksgivings in my Wisconsin childhood were brisk affairs: cool weather, bare trees, an occasional flurry. But inside our house it was warm. We had a fire going in the living room, the bridge table was set up for my parents…

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Always Courage, Always Hope

Today marks the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht or “Night of Broken Glass.” On November 9 & 10, 1938, the Nazis in Germany carried out a nationwide pogrom against German Jewry which claimed hundreds of lives, destroyed 267 synagogues, ruined more…

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How You Get There | Parashat Chayei Sarah

Life can be so entangling sometimes. Complications arise on a daily basis. Demands pile up. We make lists to get through. And the structure, the map to getting things done, is actually a comfort, giving order to the chaos of…

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A Message about Pittsburgh

Dear Friends, The JCP community expresses its profound shock and sadness at this morning’s synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, PA. Early reports indicate that there are multiple casualties and deaths and thankfully law enforcement has the suspect in custody. At JCP,…

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The Delicate Curtain | Parashat Lech Lecha

Weekly D’var Torah Commentary  Parashat Lech Lecha | Genesis 12:1 – 17:27 My family recently went to see the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s Fiddler on the Roof at the Museum of Jewish Heritage downtown. I recommend it. It was powerful and…

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An Unforgettable Journey

I am back from an unforgettable trip to Belarus and Lithuania, where last week I bore witness to some of the most unspeakable crimes committed against Jews during the Second World War and also witnessed some of the most profoundly…

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Bearing Witness in Belarus

My grandmother, like Jewish grandmothers everywhere, was known for her kugle, which she called “sour” because it didn’t have cinnamon or sugar (God forbid). She made her own blintzes, too, which were sweet, as they should be. Her recipes were…

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What makes a community?

First there is “what we do.” Is it the phone call and fresh meal to share with a family just home with a new baby? Is it a word of encouragement during the stress leading up to a Bar Mitzvah?…

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Masterpieces of Justice and Peace

At the end of last week’s parashah, Balak, there is a terrible and violent incident, where some of the children of Israel get caught up in a frenzied orgy of idol worship with Moabite tribes. Pinchas, who was an Israelite…

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