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torah commentary
Jumping in … for redemption
Parshat Beshalach, Exodus 13:17-17:6 I spent a couple of years as a prison chaplain in California. It wasn’t exactly the job rabbinical school prepared me for, but it had its moments. I’ll say this...
Jan 20, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend
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To teach our children
Parshat Bo, Exodus 10:1-13:16 We get to the heart of the matter in the second verse of our Parsha, Bo. Moses and Aaron are instructed to go before Pharaoh even though God will harden his heart to t...
Jan 13, 2016 | 1 1 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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What always changes yet ever remains the same?
Parshat Vaera, Exodus 6:2-9:35 Sometime circa 1987, my uncle sent me a video cassette (remember them?) of a home movie he had made with his 8-mm camera (remember them?) of my family’s Fourth of Jul...
Jan 07, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend
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The wonder of life
Parshat Shemot, Exodus 1:1-6:1 As we open a new book, a new season, a new year, I can’t help but feel we’re in a movie sequel. We have a new generation and a new cast of characters, yet the details...
Dec 30, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend
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Joseph, the wonder boy
Parshat Vayechi, Genesis 47:28-50:26 Joseph is not shy about sharing his dreams and prophecies with the public. He understands prophecy as a gift that ought to guide and give vision to his growing ...
Dec 23, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend
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A public figure’s private life: ‘Inquiring minds want to know’
Parshat Vayigash, Genesis 44:18-47:27 “Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, ‘Have everyone withdraw from me!’ So there was no one else about when Jose...
Dec 17, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
What’s in a name?
by Cantor Michal Gray-Schaffer
Oct 22, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Lech Lecha, Genesis 12:1-17:27 This week, Parshat Lech Lecha, translated as “go forth,” chronicles the earliest part of the Abraham and Sarah biblical narrative. However, at the time of Ado...
We are not a country club
by Rabbi Alex Greenbaum
Oct 14, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Noach, Genesis 6:9-11:32 Noah wasn’t Jewish. I find it interesting that our Torah began last week with Adam, not Abraham. It began with the first person, not the first Jew. We seem to forge...
Look to mythical truth for purposeful life
Oct 07, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Bereishit, Genesis 1:1-6:8 This week we begin reading the Book of Genesis. We turn to this first book of the Torah as a template to explore some of the most important concepts in Judaism, n...
Holy history or sacred seeds?
by Rabbi James A. Gibson
Oct 01, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend
Shabbat Chol Ha-Moed Sukkot 33:12-34:26 The Three Festivals we celebrate are powerful connectors of the Jewish people across time and space. Sukkot, Pesach and Shavuot each provide essential connec...
Ha’azinu ode on a biblical urn
by Rabbi David C. Novitsky
Sep 24, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Ha’azinu Deuteronomy 32:1 - 32:52 This week’s Torah portion of Ha’azinu contains a poetic narrative, and then in its conclusion it describes the last days of Moses’ life as he stood on Moun...
The gift of our words
by Rabbi Jessica Locketz
Sep 16, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Vayelech, Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30 “Turn, O Israel, toward the Eternal, your God, that you may confess to your transgressions. Take with you words and turn to God saying, sweep away in forgiv...
With help, support and inspiration
by Rabbi Barbara AB Symons
Sep 09, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend
What are the prerequisites to convert to Judaism? If you could choose, what would they be? While some of our denominations have a very clear answer, others are more flexible. As a Reform rabbi, I h...
Choosing a path
by Rabbi Eli Seidman
Sep 02, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend
Parshat Ki Tavo, Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8 A person is led on the path that he (or she) truly wants to travel on. (Talmud Makkot 10b) If a person comes to purify him (or her) self, he (or she) will be ...
Cultivating compassion
by Rabbi Bryna Milkow
Aug 27, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
Ki Tetzei, Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19 Among the 72 mitzvot that are delineated in the parasha of Ki Tetzei, there is one that some consider to be an “easy” mitzvah. In Deuteronomy 22:6-7 we learn, “If...
Righteousness, justice
by Rabbi Sara Rae Perman
Aug 19, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend
Parashat Shoftim, Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9, Isaiah 51:12-52:12 This year, I was fortunate to spend my eighth summer at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem studying with about 170 colleagues fro...