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torah commentary
Ha’azinu ode on a biblical urn
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...
Sep 24, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend
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The gift of our words
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...
Sep 16, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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With help, support and inspiration
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...
Sep 09, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend
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Choosing a path
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 ...
Sep 02, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend
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Cultivating compassion
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...
Aug 27, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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Righteousness, justice
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...
Aug 19, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend
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Extraordinary women
by Rabbi James A. Gibson, Temple Sinai
Nov 08, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 87 87 recommendations | email to a friend
Chayei Sara, Genesis 23:1-25:18 This Torah portion is called Chayei Sara for good reason.  Even though the very first verse reports the death of our mother, Sara, it says that she lived , meaning t...
Weigh candidates fairly when voting
by Rabbi Michael Werbow, Congregation Beth Shalom
Nov 01, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 83 83 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayera, Genesis 18:1-22:24 Imagine the urgency with which Abraham greeted his guests.  As soon as he saw them coming he ran to greet them. Once he welcomed them and offered them something to eat, w...
Become you
by Rabbi Amy Hertz, Rodef Shalom Congregation
Oct 25, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 81 81 recommendations | email to a friend
Lech Lecha, Genesis 12:1-17:27 The story of our biblical ancestors Abraham and Sarah is one of great courage and profound change.  Their journey — our journey — begins with God’s invitation to them...
The challenge of righteousness 
by Barbara Binder Kadden Temple Beth El, Tacoma, Wash
Oct 17, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 80 80 recommendations | email to a friend
Noach, Genesis 6:9–11:32 “This is Noah’s chronicle. Noah was a righteous man; in his generation, he was above reproach; Noah walked with God” Genesis 6:9 The Rabbis have long debated this verse que...
Lost in the stars?
by Cantor Richard Berlin, Parkway Jewish Center
Oct 17, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 81 81 recommendations | email to a friend
Bereshit, Genesis 1:1 –6:8 “When God began to create heaven and earth….” We return once again to repeat our cycle of Torah. Torah and its many commentaries assure us that God and humans are in a re...
To see God’s faces
by Rabbi Mark Joel Mahler, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Oct 04, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 84 84 recommendations | email to a friend
Shabbat Chol HaMoed Sukkot “You cannot see My face, for no one shall see Me and live.” This declaration is as emphatic as any in the Torah.  God issues it in response to Moses’ plea, “Oh, let me be...
The time is now
by Rabbi Jessica Locketz, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Sep 27, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 84 84 recommendations | email to a friend
Haazinu, Deuteronomy 32:1-52 This week, we read from Parashat Haazinu. In it, Moses speaks words of poetry, a beautiful poem highlighting his last words to the children of Israel. After Moses finis...
Take one step after another
by Rabbi David Novitsky, Beth Israel Congregation, Washington, Pa.
Sep 20, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 84 84 recommendations | email to a friend
Shabbat Shuva Deuteronomy 31:1-30 Most wrongful conduct consists of both a trespass against a fellow person and a sin against G-d. On these days of penitence and specifically on Shabbat Shuva we ar...
‘Standing for something’
by Rabbi Audrey R. Korotkin, Temple Beth Israel, Altoona
Sep 12, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 52 52 recommendations | email to a friend
Nitzavim, Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20 One of the most clever High Holy Day newspaper ads I ever saw was a display box that read, from top to bottom:  “Sit - Stand - Sit - Stand - Sit - Stand - Come sit ...
Some things are required, not desired
by Rabbi Scott Aaron, Agency for Jewish Learning
Sep 06, 2012 | 0 0 comments | 54 54 recommendations | email to a friend
Ki Tavo, Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8 This week’s Torah portion begins with the instructions for personal tithing. The “first fruits” of the harvest of ground vegetation (onions, garlic, lettuce, etc.) ar...