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torah commentary
You changed my sackcloth into robes of joy
For more than half my lifetime I have done my best to help victims of violent crimes in their struggle to recover. I have counseled rape, murder, terrorist and abuse victims spiritually, emotionall...
Apr 03, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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New moon, new months
Tazria Leviticus 9:1-11:47 The first Passover Seder is nearly upon us. How do we know? No need to look at the calendar; go outside and look at the moon. As our ancestors did, we too can look at the...
Mar 27, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend
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That last bite of matzah has a special message
Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47 The countdown to Passover is on. With that in mind, what will we do this year to make Passover less about food — especially decadent chocolate cakes preceded by a multi...
Mar 19, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend
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The Purim paradox: Now more than ever
Shabbat Zachor, Leviticus 6:1-8:36 One of my rabbis in seminary told this story: While serving as an Army chaplain, a soldier professed to him, “I believe every word in the Bible!” The rabbi replie...
Mar 12, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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Little alephs need our help
Vayikra, Leviticus 1:1-5:26 In this week’s parshah, which is the beginning of the book of Leviticus, we have something very unusual in the Torah scroll.  The first word, Vayikra, which means “And H...
Mar 06, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend
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Holy housewarming can strengthen community
Suppose you fell in love, and wanted your beloved to move in with you.  You would probably arrange the residence exactly the way s/he likes it, with the furniture positioned and the tchotchkes depl...
Feb 26, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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Archives
In circle of life, loved ones come and go
Chaye Sarah, 23:1-25:18
by Rabbi Beth Jacowitz Chottiner
Temple Shalom, Wheeling, W.Va.
Nov 17, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend
We are all familiar with the phrase “circle of life.” I couldn’t help but think of this idea in relation to this week’s Torah portion, for life and death are intertwined. As Jews, we have a wide ra...
Speaking to the future
Parshat Vayeira
Genesis 18:1-22-24
by Rabbi Jonathan Perlman
New Light Congregation
Nov 10, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend
On Rosh Hashana, we read the story of the Akeida, the near-sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham, taken out of the context of the Genesis narrative. We weave Abraham as hero into the High Holy Day themes o...
Rabbi marks three anniversaries;reflects on the meaning of family
Lech Lecha, Genesis 12:1-17:27  
by Rabbi Sara Rae Perman
Congregation Emanu-El Israel Greensburg
Nov 02, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend
The Biblical commentator, Rabbi Meir Leibush ben Yehiel Michael better known as Malbim (1809-1897), asks about the order of the command given to Abram in this week’s Torah portion. He notes that Ab...
Where did the raven go?
Genesis 6:9-11:32
by Rabbi James A. Gibson
Temple Sinai
Oct 27, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend
The story of Noah and the flood is often presented as a children’s tale, something so fabulous and unbelievable we expect kids to be awed and adults to strain to suspend their disbelief. The story ...
The unforgiven
Shabbat Shuva, Haazinu, Deuteronomy, 32:1-52
by Rabbi Alex Greenbaum
Beth El Congregation of the South Hills
Oct 06, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend
We must blindly forgive others, because God is forgiving, right? Wrong. Where in our Torah is God so forgiving? Whenever we did something wrong, God immediately punished us. I cannot recall one tim...
Seeing God’s love
Haazinu, Deuteronomy 32:1-52
by Rabbi Mike Werbow
Congregation Beth Shalom
Sep 29, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend
Congratulations! We have all made it to the first Shabbat of 5772. For the past week (or more) we have been wishing each other, “L’shana tova tikateyvu,” (may you be inscribed for a good year). Now...
We stand together …
Nitzavim-Vayelech, Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30
by Rabbi Sharyn Henry
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Sep 21, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
We are standing, all of us, in a circle. Spontaneously, we start singing “Lechi Lach,” to our teacher who is leaving. We send our hopes that she continues to “go forth,” that she is a blessing to h...
First fruits
Ki Tavo, Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8
by Rabbi Ron Symons
Director of Lifelong Learning
Temple Sinai
Sep 15, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend
There are so many firsts for all of us at this time of year: first days of school, first leaves turning, first football games (Go Steelers!). For Jews, this perennial season of firsts finds its ori...
Matchmakers must remember why they do their job
Ki Tetze, 21:10-25:19
by Rabbi Martin William Shorr
Temple Hadar Israel, New Castle
Sep 08, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend
This week's Torah portion talks about the laws of a sad, but real situation -- divorce. There are opinions from various rabbis in the Talmud relating to divorce. Interestingly, because there is a p...
Torah is Israel's first line of defense
Parshat Shofteem Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9
by Rabbi Nosson Sachs
UPMC Shadyside
Sep 01, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend
Most Jews are concerned with Israel's safety and security, but what is the mostessential element of that security? Is it a well-trained and well-equipped Israel Defense Forces? Perhaps the Shin Bet...