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I grew up in a liberal home in which politics, social issues and, most importantly, social responsibility were often discussed. I recall organizational meetings to support various Democratic candidates taking place in my den and vividly remember hours spent putting political placards on doors throughout my town.

My parents’ lessons on social values of inclusion, equality, and fairness have stuck with me. They shaped the adult I have become, guide my vote each November, and influenced the type of community I wanted to serve. It was the open, liberal, progressive approach long taken by my congregation that initially drew me to it. Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel is a congregation that looks for every opportunity to say “yes” and be inclusive. It is why we gutted our main worship space a few years ago and made sure it was accessible through ramps and movable chairs. It is why, as long as I am the only officiant, I will perform an interfaith marriage (with the hope that, by doing so, I will be helping to create a new Jewish home.) It is why, in February of 2012, I was in Trenton testifying before the State Assembly on behalf of marriage equality, and joined in celebration with friends whose wedding I performed when their marriage was finally recognized by the state this past fall.


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