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70 Faces

'That's Why I Love Mankind' (Parshat Noah, Genesis 6:9-11:32)

Stephen Hazan Arnoff | Posted 10.14.2015 | Religion
Stephen Hazan Arnoff

In sacred stories so thick with meaning, the mix of voices spanning time and space challenge our settling into any single meaning. Narratives and counter-narratives are built into Jewish tradition, which invites interpretation and reinterpretation in a constant dance.

Marriage Equality: Monogamy and Metaphor (Parshat Va'etchanan, Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11)

Rabbi Naamah Kelman | Posted 07.28.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Naamah Kelman

The Hebrew Bible is not egalitarian or democratic in 21st-century terms. It is rife with violence, prejudice and patriarchy. And yet, we get glimpses, precious insights of what might be, what could be, as generations of living with biblical interpretation unfold.

Arguing About Values, Not Facts (Parshat Devarim, Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22)

Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman | Posted 07.21.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman

As we read about and engage with the contentious issues that fill our Facebook feeds, and our other online and in-person conversations, we would do well not just to focus on factual disagreements, but to ask ourselves, "What are the values guiding this person's perspective?"

Engaging Head-On With Violent Sacred Texts (Parshat Matot-Masei, Numbers 30:2-36:13)

Rabbi Melissa Weintraub | Posted 07.15.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Melissa Weintraub

This week's Torah portion, Matot-Masei, contains violent passages from which most modern readers will want to disassociate ourselves. Many communities will choose to gloss over these passages cursorily, with discomfort if not embarrassment.

Radical Compassion: Moses and the Master of Berditchev (Parshat Pinchas, Numbers 25:10-30:1)

Rabbi Or Rose | Posted 07.08.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Or Rose

If God -- the ultimate Spirit -- can tolerate the shortcomings of human beings, designate a human leader who will do the same. As Rabbi Levi Yitzhak teaches repeatedly (including in his discussion of Moses' sin at Kadesh), a true leader does not beat people down.

Towards an Ethic of Trust (Parshat Balak, Numbers 22:2-25:9)

Rabbi Michael Adam Latz | Posted 07.02.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Michael Adam Latz

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the emotions of a moment, in our reflexive reactions to another person's behavior, that we forget the relationship we have with them. We become suspicious and angry, and then spin into a cycle of recrimination and mistrust.

Guarding the Mishkan: Peril and Possibility (Parshat Korach, Numbers 16:1-18:32)

Rabbi Toba Spitzer | Posted 06.19.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Toba Spitzer

As depicted in the book of Numbers, the task of creating holy community is truly daunting. Journeying through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land, the Israelites stumble from crisis to crisis, none more toxic than the one in this week's Torah portion.

Changing the Rules of the Game (Parshat B'ha'alot'kha, Numbers 8:1-12:16)

Stephen Hazan Arnoff | Posted 06.04.2015 | Religion
Stephen Hazan Arnoff

When the game is being played between people and the Divine, a little room for changes in the rules can be a good thing, even a necessary one. Adjustments in the heat of battle are an important part of the story of this week's Torah portion, B'ha'alot'kha.

Revelation, the Morning After (Parshat Naso, Numbers 4:21-7:89)

Rabbi Adina Allen | Posted 05.29.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Adina Allen

As we recently marked the holiday of Shavuot, many of us in the wee hours between darkness and dawn marked our receiving of Torah on Mount Sinai by studying Torah all night. After 49 days of counting, we have finally reached the apex of the journey we began then.

Sound and Silence (Parshat B'midbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20, Shavuot, May 23-25)

Rabbi Lisa L. Goldstein | Posted 05.21.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Lisa L. Goldstein

Shavuot, the holiday that celebrates the gift of Torah, begins on Saturday night. The Torah itself describes this occasion as being accompanied by dramatic and terrifying noise and spectacle: thunder, long shofar blasts, earthquake, fire and smoke.

Torah Gone Wild (Behar-Behukotai, Leviticus 25:1-27:34)

Rabbi Minna Bromberg | Posted 05.13.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Minna Bromberg

The Torah is very clear that the punishment for not allowing the land to rest every seventh year is exile. In other words, we can either give the land her sabbaths while we dwell here, or she will simply take them when we are long gone. Wildness will out.

A Priesthood of the Imperfect (Parshat Emor, Leviticus 21:1-24:23)

Rabbi Arthur Green | Posted 05.06.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Arthur Green

What we need now is a priesthood of the imperfect -- in which all of us who are "disqualified" in one way or another (which is to say, I'd venture, all of us) accept and embrace our imperfections, learning from one another and teaching one another what we have learned in the course of our lives.

Walking Through Cloud (Parshat Acharei Mot/Kedoshim, Leviticus 16:1-20:27)

Erica Brown | Posted 06.30.2015 | Religion
Erica Brown

When Moses finished the work, the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and the presence of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it and the presence of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.

Leprosy's Haunting Relevance (Parshat Tazria-Metzora, Leviticus 12:1-15:33)

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg | Posted 06.20.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg

Even after we are healed, the experience of serious illness seriously transforms us, and the Torah's seemingly arcane rituals serve as a timeless reminder of the steps on that transforming journey.

Revisiting the Holy and the Ordinary (Parshat Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47)

Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer | Posted 06.15.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer

This week's Torah portion includes, in the words of anthropologist Mary Douglas, a "hoary old puzzle from biblical scholarship." As Douglas put it, "Why should some locusts, but not all, be unclean?

Getting Unstuck (Second Shabbat of Passover, April 11, 2015)

Rabbi David Jaffe | Posted 06.07.2015 | Religion
Rabbi David Jaffe

Passover is the holiday of getting unstuck. The Israelites lived in slavery for hundreds of years in Egypt, completed dominated by Pharoah and his regime. But the message of the biblical Exodus is that what is, now, does not have to be what is in the future.

Behold, the Table Is Set (First Shabbat of Passover, April 4, 2015)

Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin | Posted 05.31.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin

It was not the assumption of different gender roles per se that I found disturbing. One could argue that such expectations were well-negotiated over centuries. It was the invisibility that irked, the taking-for-grantedness of the contribution of women to the sacred home enterprise.

Making Meaning of the Ashes in Our Lives (Parshat Tzav, Leviticus 6:1-8:36)

Rabbi Asher Lopatin | Posted 05.26.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Asher Lopatin

These ashes are much like the things in life that didn't work out the way we intended them, the fallout of the unsavory things we have done that we wish we would never do. Sometimes no one else sees these burnt pieces of our lives.

The Importance of 'Calling' (Parshat Vayikra, Leviticus 1:1-5:26/Shabbat haHodesh)

Rabbi Marc Baker | Posted 05.19.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Marc Baker

We live in a busy, noisy world of multi-media overload, fast-paced online communication, and expectations of increased personal and professional productivity. Technology and social media have revolutionized how we communicate with and what we expect of one another.

Building Devotion (Parshat Vayakhel/Pekudei, Exodus 35:1-40:38)

Ariel Mayse | Posted 05.12.2015 | Religion
Ariel Mayse

Judaism is often described as a religion of law, an identity that it shares with Islam. But it is perhaps more accurate to consider Judaism as a religion defined by its commitment to embodied practice and experience.

More Than One Thing: Purim and Reflections of the Image of God (Parshat Ki Tissa, Exodus 30:11 - 34:35 ; Purim, March 4-5)

Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld | Posted 05.04.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

Megillat Esther, which we read on the holiday of Purim this week, is a flamboyant, even farcical tale of good and evil. Its characters on the face of it are caricatures of human virtue and vice: Achashueras the foolish king who sits on the throne but exercises no true leadership or authority.

Remembering the Future: Memories of the Heart (Parashat Tetzaveh, Exodus 27:20-30:10/Shabbat Zachor)

Reb Mimi Feigelson | Posted 04.26.2015 | Religion
Reb Mimi Feigelson

This Shabbat, the weekly Torah portion embraces the consecration of the priesthood to God, and the special designated Torah reading for the Shabbat prior to Purim, known as Shabbat Zachor, commands us to remember/not forget our encounter with Amalek, who sought to destroy us.

Is Law a Kind of Love? (Parshat Mishpatim, Exodus 21:1 - 24:18)

Rabbi Joshua Stanton | Posted 04.13.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Joshua Stanton

This week's Torah portion, Mishpatim, comes on the heels of the Ten Commandments and begins delving into more detailed prescriptions for our actions. In some cases, its behavioral requirements seem immediately accessible and relevant.

Religion and the Enemy (Parshat B'Shalach, Exodus 13:17-17:16)

Rabbi Amy Eilberg | Posted 03.30.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Amy Eilberg

Common wisdom has it that much violence in the world is driven by religious passion. Though there is good reason for this claim, deeper reflection reveals a more complex picture of what religions have to say about relationships with the enemy.

Power, Oppression and the Hardened Heart (Parshat Bo, Exodus 10:1-13:16)

Rabbi Adina Allen | Posted 03.23.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Adina Allen

The hardening of Pharaoh's heart is one of the most confusing aspects of the Exodus story, but has perhaps the most to teach us about freedom and oppression in our world today.