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Neal Schindler

Neal Schindler
A native of Detroit, Neal Schindler has lived in the Pacific Northwest for 14 years. He has held staff positions at Seattle Weekly and The Seattle Times and was a freelance writer for Jew-ish.com from 2007 to 2011. Schindler was raised in a Reconstructionist Jewish congregation and is now a member of Spokane's Reform congregation, Emanu-El. He is the director of Spokane Area Jewish Family Services and also works as a copy editor at the Spokesman-Review. His interests include movies, Scrabble, and indie rock. He lives with his wife, baby son, and two cats in West Central Spokane.

Being Jewish at Christmastime

A recent discussion at my shul, Congregation Emanu-El, introduced me to Sue Fishkoff’s essay “My Family Tree is Loaded with Tinsel.” In this short but insightful piece, Fishkoff cracks open a quiet taboo of American Jewish life: what some Jews do at Christmastime.

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“Jew” as a noun: offensive or merely descriptive?

Most of my friends agreed that the intention behind the use of “Jew” is what matters most. (They also shared the opinion that “jew” as a verb is always pejorative.) A friend who is especially knowledgeable about Judaism made the key distinction between “Jew” as a noun and the same word as an adjective. The latter is plainly offensive.

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Religious charity: uniter or divider?

The image I most closely associate with the Jewish concept of tzedakah (charity) comes from my childhood. I remember little boxes, emblazoned with the Israeli flag, at my Hebrew school. Each had a small slot for coins on top — a kind of Zionist-looking piggybank.

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Being Jewish in Spokane

Back when I lived in Seattle, I wrote for a blog called Jew-ish.com. My editor there, Leyna Krow, moved to Spokane in the fall of 2010 for graduate school. A few months later, she posted a brief essay titled “Feeling way too Jewish in Spokane."

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