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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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Hallelu Yah!
by Cantor Richard Berlin, Parkway Jewish Center
Mar 20, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 144 144 recommendations | email to a friend
Shabbat HaGaddol Leviticus 6:1–8:36 This year, Parashat Tzav is also Shabbat HaGaddol — the last Shabbat before Passover. On Monday night, we will all sit down to our first Pesach seder. We’ll ask ...
Some say yes, some say no; I say ‘what if?’ What say you?
by Rabbi Mark Joel Mahler, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Mar 14, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 141 141 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayikra, Leviticus 1:1-5:26 Every Jew who lived through the Six Day War recalls the thrilling image of Rabbi Shlomo Goren, chief rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces, holding a sefer Torah and blowin...
The first fundraiser
by Rabbi Sara Rae Perman, Congregation Emanu-El Israel
Mar 07, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 144 144 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayakhel Pekudei Exodus 35:1 — 40:38 In the Jewish community, we are used to having fundraising campaigns. It is not something unique to the American scene. One can look throughout Jewish history a...
Uplifted faces bring peace, wholeness
by Rabbi Barbara AB Symons Temple David, Monroeville
Feb 28, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 141 141 recommendations | email to a friend
Ki Tissa 30:11-34:35 Lately, I have been attending church. Perhaps that sounds odd for a rabbi to write.  Yet one of my goals for my current three-month sabbatical is to attend as many services as ...
Remember and don’t forget
by Rabbi Michael Werbow, Congregation Beth Shalom
Feb 21, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 131 131 recommendations | email to a friend
Tetzaveh, Exodus 27:20-30:10 Just a few weeks ago, we read Parashat Yitro in which we retell the experience of standing at Mt. Sinai and hearing the voice of God deliver Torah to the people Israel....
Teruma: Benefits of group worship
by Rabbi Eli Seidman, Jewish Association on
Feb 13, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 122 122 recommendations | email to a friend
Teruma, Exodus 25:1-27:19 What benefit does a person obtain from attending services in his or her synagogue? After all, can’t a person pray anywhere and anytime? This week’s Torah portion, Teruma, ...
What Shabbat Shekalim means
by Rabbi Beth Jacowitz Chottiner, Temple Shalom, Wheeling, W.Va.
Feb 07, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 119 119 recommendations | email to a friend
Mishpatim/Shabbat Shekalim This week, we are celebrating our first Shabbat in February, but since our festivals and holidays are coming early this year, it’s already time to start planning for Pesa...
Kingdom of priests
by Rabbi Jonathan Perlman, New Light Congregation
Jan 31, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 104 104 recommendations | email to a friend
Yitro, Exodus 18:1-20:23 In this week’s Torah portion, we read that God declares the Jewish people a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:6) It comes just before the reading of the Te...
Songs of our tradition
by Rabbi Paul Tuchman, Temple B’nai Israel, White Oak
Jan 24, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 94 94 recommendations | email to a friend
Beshalach, Exodus 13:17-17:16 Most of Exodus chapter 15 in this week’s Torah portion is devoted to shirat hayam (the song at the sea). Upon their miraculous deliverance from pursuit by Pharaoh’s ar...
Rejoice in freedom, not in others’ misfortune
by Rabbi Amy B. Hertz
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Jan 17, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 79 79 recommendations | email to a friend
Bo, Exodus 10:1-13:16 This week’s Torah portion, Parashat Bo, describes the final three of the ten plagues that befell the land of Egypt and its people during the Israelites fight for freedom from ...