(1/8): “Feeling Deeply” “From a very young age, I had a great capacity to feel. I recall watching an episode of Sesame Street and Big Bird went away to camp. My mom asked me why I was crying, but I couldn’t quite verbalize the intensity of my sadness. My exuberance for life was intense too.…

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This year I am almost at a loss for words.  The last two years I have wrestled with the question, “Why are we mourning on Tisha Baav?” The first time I asked the question, I was living as a new olah in Jerusalem. I was so overwhelmed by the intensity and vibrancy of the city,…

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I’ve been trying to make sense of the time period that we are living in right now.  We have been bombarded with endless adversity: global pandemics of many kinds of ills– hatred, illness, and injustice. The world is in so much pain. Typically on Layers, I take it one story at a time. I unwrap…

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(1/6): Seeds For The Future “It all started when I was living in New Jersey. I was a teacher and a camp director. On the outside, I portrayed a respectable, successful, and confident woman- but within I didn’t feel those things about myself. I felt like I had to put on a show. My insecurities…

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This moment is like thousands of moments we’ve had before.  Life in Israel has historically never been easy. Life here regularly includes war, rockets, threats, bombs, and stabbings. It’s rocky with instability; in current events and our politics.  COVID is a new one for us. But there is a reason why our country is growing.…

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I am sick of feeling pressure to be productive in isolation. This scenario that we have been living in for over a month has been a mixed bag. There were some weeks where I was calm and feeling grounded by the fact that I had nowhere to be and no work to do. I had…

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I had just walked through Auschwitz- Birkenau and seen things that I could never have imagined in my worst nightmares. I was 19 years old and visiting Poland on a Heritage trip- to witness the destruction of Jewish life in Europe under the hands of the Nazis, and to learn about the rich history of…

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This essay is brought to The Layers Project Magazine through a partnership with Matan. I have been thinking a lot about the next stage of parenting for me.  I have an almost ten-year-old daughter and we all know what that means. Soon enough, she will be a bat mitzvah. Since my own bat mitzvah, I…

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Last night I was cleaning up the kitchen after a draining day. My husband is traveling for work and I was alone with the kids. We had spent the afternoon setting up the bomb shelter in case rockets and their sirens would come to Jerusalem overnight. It had been quiet in our neighborhood, but the…

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Written by Shira Lankin Sheps & Rachel Hercman One year ago, on October 27, 2018, The Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA was hit with a terror attack by a gunman who killed 11 people praying together. This attack is considered the largest attack on a Jewish community in American history.  These people were…

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Dr. Yael Ziegler, Matan, Jewish Education, Torah Learning, Women's Scholarship, Tanach

This essay is brought to The Layers Project Magazine through a partnership with Matan- The Sadie Rennert Women’s Institute for Torah Studies in honor of their 30th-anniversary dinner this Chol Hamoaid Sukkot in Jerusalem. When we decided to move to Jerusalem, one of the selling points was the access to the multitude of Torah institutions…

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