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Making Space for the Divine -- and Each Other (Parshat Terumah, Exodus 25:1 - 27:19)

Rabbi Jordan Braunig | Posted 02.10.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Jordan Braunig

May we be blessed to be bold and courageous enough to build sacred dwelling places, and may the reward for struggling to keep housing available be an ongoing sense of proximity to the Holy One.

Teaching With Patience and Presence (Parshat Mishpatim, Exodus 21:1-24:18)

Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld | Posted 02.04.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

Teaching, mentoring, and providing guidance and support to young people who are trying to find their way in a complex world requires sustained presence, patience, persistence, and compassion. The same is true for learners at any stage of life.

Many Covenantal Paths: Catholic and Jewish Partnership (Parshat Yitro, Exodus 18:1-20:23)

Rabbi Daniel Lehmann | Posted 01.27.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Daniel Lehmann

In this week's Torah portion, Parshat Yitro -- named for Moses' father-in-law -- Jethro (Yitro in Hebrew) is described first as a priest of Midian, and only after that as the father of Moses' wife.

Walls: Not in My Backyard (Luke 4:21-30)

Greg Carey | Posted 01.26.2016 | Religion
Greg Carey

Lots of our public conversations these days relate to boundaries. In a presidential election year, with seemingly countless candidates and endless debates, it's hard to avoid the angry voices and fierce scowls.

Honoring the Blank Spaces (Parshat B'shalach, Exodus 13:17-17:16)

Rabbi Minna Bromberg | Posted 01.20.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Minna Bromberg

This is the teaching I take from the distinctive layout of the Song of the Sea: the space of the in-breath is the birthplace of all song. Honoring this space, no matter how limited it or we may be, allows us to reconnect, throughout our songs and throughout our lives, with the Infinite from which all song flows.

Tamir Rice and the Anguish of Our National Sin (Nehemiah 8:1-10)

Robert Williamson | Posted 01.18.2016 | Religion
Robert Williamson

Facing the anguish that must surely arise, we must not tarry in our guilt too long, but take action to right the wrongs we have done. To make reparations to those we have oppressed. For it is in this just peace that the Lord takes joy. And the joy of the Lord will be our strength.

New Church Problems: Mormonism

Mette Ivie Harrison | Posted 01.15.2016 | Religion
Mette Ivie Harrison

The Mormon Church is a fairly new religion, not quite 200 years old. It was founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith, and though Mormons believe that it re-est...

Watching, Waiting, Reflecting: Dreaming in Times of Darkness (Parshat Bo, Exodus 10:1-13:16)

Adam Lavitt | Posted 01.13.2016 | Religion
Adam Lavitt

Rather than sitting idly by, paralyzed by cynicism -- or charging toward the power brokers with vengeance -- we can get up and join hands with our ancestors. Together, we will gaze into the darkness, waiting patiently until our eyes adjust and we can see something amidst the darkness.

Manifested Hospitality for the Greater Good (John 2:1-11)

Rev. Shively Smith | Posted 01.26.2016 | Religion
Rev. Shively Smith

The activities of the Christian community should be no less vigorous as we enter the mid-month point in January 2016 and the energy of the Christmas Season has passed. In fact, it is on this Second Sunday after Epiphany that an honest evaluation of our situation locally, regionally, and abroad should be made.

Moses Was Twice a Refugee (Parshat Va'era, Exodus 6:2 – 9:35)

Rabbi Joshua Stanton | Posted 01.07.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Joshua Stanton

Some in Europe and the United States are dithering, uncertain of what to do. Others are actively stoking the fires of xenophobia, and speaking out against the refugees. A notable few are fulfilling their ethical obligations to welcome those who so desperately need a place of refuge.

The Missing Piece (Luke 3:15-17, 21-22)

Rev. Susan Sparks | Posted 01.05.2016 | Religion
Rev. Susan Sparks

In our scripture this week, Luke 3:15-17, 21-22, we are reminded of life's key piece through the story of Jesus' baptism. The moment Jesus emerges from the water, a voice descends from heaven and declares: "You are my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased."

How Experience and Confession Make Teachers and Students Masters

Catherine Nagle | Posted 12.30.2015 | GPS for the Soul
Catherine Nagle

I'm really enjoying the gift of Oprah's "Super Soul Sessions" since it helps me to see that I'm still a work in progress and to determine the area...

Aligning Ourselves With the God Who Changes (Parshat Shemot, Exodus 1:1-6:1)

Rabbi Lisa L. Goldstein | Posted 12.28.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Lisa L. Goldstein

When we seek alternatives to the structures of fear and hate, we cannot just substitute another attempt at absolute power. We have to cultivate different ways of interacting with whatever we don't like or understand.

The Purpose of Genesis: 'They're All God's Kids'

Rabbi Joseph Meszler | Posted 12.28.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Joseph Meszler

Jewish people reread the book of Genesis each year during the fall into the beginning of winter in synagogue. Christians and Muslims turn to these stories as well. What are we supposed to learn from this book of Scripture?

The Shma, Activism, and Maccabiah (Parshat Vayechi, 47:28-50:26)

Rabbi Lev Meirowitz Nelson | Posted 12.21.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Lev Meirowitz Nelson

As we marched and chanted, I was drawn back in time to formative memories of my young adulthood, during Maccabiah at Eisner Camp, a Jewish sleepaway summer camp in the Berkshires.

Learning from the Religious Extremism of ISIS/DAESH

Imam Jamal Rahman | Posted 12.16.2015 | Religion
Imam Jamal Rahman

The best lesson to be drawn from religious exclusivity and fanaticism is what sages have taught for centuries: if my relationship with my religion or holy book comes in the way of my relationship with you, it is bound to come in the way of my relationship with God.

The Challenge of Jonah: Countering Radicalization Through Radical Inclusion

Frances Flannery | Posted 12.14.2015 | Religion
Frances Flannery

In the wake of the Paris attacks, as I've struggled to articulate my understanding of the importance of the choices the U.S. and Europe are making regarding the refugee crisis, I've been thinking about the Book of Jonah in the Bible.

On Joseph, Shaving and Being Human (Parashat Miketz, Genesis 41:1-44:14)

Rabbi Daniel Klein | Posted 12.10.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Daniel Klein

Current events have conspired to make Paris the moral heart of our world, calling us to reflect on where we are going as a world community.

Selective Salvation in a Fear-Filled World (Luke 3:1-6)

Karoline M. Lewis | Posted 12.02.2015 | Religion
Karoline M. Lewis

It is no accident that John the Baptist, whose birth to Elizabeth, old and barren, narrated in the first chapter of Luke, quotes Isaiah, and Jesus will do the same in his sermon in Nazareth. Isaiah was God's word to those exiled in Babylon, separated from life as they knew it because it was separation from the God of life.

The Same Body (Parshat Vayeshev, Genesis 37:1-40:23)

Or Mars | Posted 12.02.2015 | Religion
Or Mars

In this week's Torah reading, Parshat Vayeshev, we find ourselves positioned as voyeurs, watching a troubling family dynamic unfold. Jacob favors his 17-year-old son, Joseph, over all of his other children.

Before We Condemn Islam, Let's Consider Our Own Faiths

John Backman | Posted 12.02.2015 | Religion
John Backman

Their scriptures may imply that God ordered genocide. Their extremists preach hate and destroy artifacts from other traditions. Most of the clergy insist that theirs is a religion of peace. Yes, Christians are in a quandary these days.

No Guarantees for the Righteous (Parshat Vayishlach, Genesis 32:3-36:43)

Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld | Posted 11.24.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

The Torah is famously laconic about the emotional lives of its central characters. We are left to imagine what Abraham was feeling as he walked up Mount Moriah with his son Isaac at his side, or what Rachel felt when she discovered that her older sister Leah had laid with Jacob in the marital bed intended for her.

Black Friday: Can't Buy Love (Jeremiah 33:14-16 and Luke 21:25-36)

Karyn L. Wiseman, Ph.D. | Posted 11.24.2015 | Religion
Karyn L. Wiseman, Ph.D.

Let's work on all of this during this season. Let's talk to one another. Let's refuse to buy into the consumer mentality. Let's spend our time and resources on each other in more faithful and spiritual ways.

Prayer and Meditation in the Aftermath of the Paris Attacks

Rabbi Or Rose | Posted 11.22.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Or Rose

Prayer is not enough, it must lead to concrete action in the world. But prayer and other contemplative exercises can serve as powerful vehicles for individual and collective reflection, illuminating our path to purposeful action.

Joy and Loss: Holding the Fullness of Possibility (Parshat Toldot, Genesis 25:19-28:9)

Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman | Posted 11.11.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman

Being pregnant means holding the vast span of possibilities, each in the fullness of its fruition, all at once. The blue or pink "gender reveal" party holds no candle to the many variations of joy and loss that are possible in the span of a pregnancy or the life of a human being born.