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Torah

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.

The Virtue of Pride

Howard J. Curzer | Posted 07.09.2015 | Religion
Howard J. Curzer

Christianity has traditionally considered pride to be a sin, and many secular thinkers today agree that we need more humility. On the other hand, a glance at the self-help sections of bookstores reveals that pride (usually called "self-esteem") is desired by many.

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.

To Be a Thorn in the Side

Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson | Posted 06.23.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson

A reminder never to be silent in the face of injustice and hopelessness; never to be resigned to a status quo that accepts a widening gap between rich and poor, black and white, and too many atrocities like this one in Charleston.

Becoming Neighbors: A Jewish Vision of Social Justice

Rabbi Menachem Creditor | Posted 06.08.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Menachem Creditor

For those who dedicate their lives to pursuing justice, every moment is urgent. As the great Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel famously taught, there is simply "no time for neutrality."

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.

Shavuot 2015: Celebrating The Giving Of The Torah

The Huffington Post | HuffPost Religion Editors | Posted 05.21.2015 | Religion

History Shavuot is a Jewish holiday which celebrates God's giving of the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. It is also known as the "Feast of...

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.

Sophia Jones

Ancient Samaritan Sect, Straddling Israel and Palestine, Celebrates Passover On West Bank Hilltop

HuffingtonPost.com | Sophia Jones | Posted 05.05.2015 | World

MOUNT GERIZIM, West Bank -- The chants and prayers of hundreds of men echoed Saturday night from the top of a West Bank hill nestled next to a Jewish ...

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.

The Yellow Star and the Scarlet Letter

Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson | Posted 06.27.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson

Israel's policies can be legitimately criticized by fair-minded observers, but the criticism must be legitimate and it must be fair. And college and university officials must rebuke any campus organizations that pervert support for Israel into a modern-day scarlet letter.

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.

Freedom Is Not the Point of Passover

Howard J. Curzer | Posted 06.03.2015 | Religion
Howard J. Curzer

On the traditional interpretation, the moral of the Exodus story is that slavery is evil. This moral conveniently allows us to do nothing but gratefully savor life in a free country. However, if the Exodus story is about hard, harsh labor and Egyptians who deserve to be stripped, then we have work to do.

Passover Is a Prelude to Action

Rabbi Joseph Meszler | Posted 05.31.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Joseph Meszler

Every year on Passover, Jewish people recall that "once we were slaves and now we are free." We dip celery in salt water to remember the tears of the Israelites in captivity.

Moses -- the Perfect, Unwilling, Unlikely Leader

Dr. Michael Laitman | Posted 05.31.2015 | Religion
Dr. Michael Laitman

Only a leader who nurtures brotherly love instead of lust for power and self-esteem can succeed in Israel. Israel's success lies in its unity, and only such a leader can unite the people.

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.

Jesus Is My Homeboy

Yolanda Shoshana | Posted 05.30.2015 | Religion
Yolanda Shoshana

When the movie ended, I was filled with emotion. I did not have any expectations of the film. I had assumed it would be like most religious films complete with a full white cast. Instead it was the most diverse looking religious film that I have ever seen.

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.