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On the Impact of What We Say, and How We See (Parashat Balak, Numbers 22:2-25:9)

Seventy Faces of Torah | Posted 07.22.2016 | Religion
Seventy Faces of Torah

By Rabbi Dr. Michael Shire It was only a few months ago that we saw graphic and horrific images of refugee children dying on European beaches, while...

When Mourning Is Not Yet Done (Parshat Hukkat, Numbers 19:1-22:1)

Seventy Faces of Torah | Posted 07.22.2016 | Religion
Seventy Faces of Torah

Shabbat can function as a break from the unbearably real. We spend our week not only consumed by our personal struggles, large and small, but also tun...

The Two Lessons I Learned After Four Days With 370 Jewish Campus Leaders

Rabbi Eitan Webb | Posted 07.06.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Eitan Webb

Last week saw Gitty and myself spending four days with some of the greatest men and women in the Jewish world. These 185 couples have devoted their en...

”The Girl Who Said No”

Seventy Faces of Torah | Posted 07.22.2016 | Religion
Seventy Faces of Torah

I run from confrontation. The very thought of disagreeing with someone makes me breathless. Yet, as a rabbi, I have to accept that people will not a...

The Bible Is For The Birds

Michael Gilmour | Posted 06.27.2016 | Religion
Michael Gilmour

Avian language is everywhere in the Bible. But what, if anything, does it say about ethics? Quite a lot, I suspect. For whatever reason, God does not want humans killing mother birds.

How Far We Haven’t Come (Parshat Naso, B’midbar 4:21-7:89)

Seventy Faces of Torah | Posted 07.22.2016 | Religion
Seventy Faces of Torah

There should be a name for the particular sense of pride, the utter self-righteousness, that arises when we modern readers encounter the deeply proble...

'The Priestly Benediction' -- Its Meaning For Today

Ron Kronish | Posted 06.14.2016 | Religion
Ron Kronish

I had the privilege of sharing this blessing with my daughter and son-in-law, as part of their wedding ceremony, which of course was a great honor for me. And, when our children were growing up, my wife and I blessed them with this blessing around the Friday night Shabbat table as I know that many contemporary Jews with their children every Friday night.

Shavuot 2016: Celebrating The Giving Of The Torah

The Huffington Post | Carol Kuruvilla | Posted 06.10.2016 | Religion

HistoryShavuot 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 ...

The Forgetful Sands of the Wilderness (Parshat B'midbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20)

Ariel Mayse | Posted 06.07.2016 | Religion
Ariel Mayse

God's self-revelation and the giving of the Torah at Sinai was followed by the sin of the Golden Calf, and then the command to build the Tabernacle and thus establish a dwelling place for God amidst the physical world.

And None Shall Make Them Afraid: Gun Violence Awareness

Rabbi Yael Ridberg | Posted 06.03.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Yael Ridberg

A Facebook post from my friend and colleague Rabbi Sharon Brous on Wednesday read: "I'm under lockdown @UCLA. Apparently 2 dead, active shooter at lar...

Back to the Garden (Parshat Behukotai, Leviticus 26:3-27:34)

Alicia Jo Rabins | Posted 06.01.2016 | Religion
Alicia Jo Rabins

It makes sense that the utopian promise is not heaven, but earth. Our ancestors, pre-factory-farm, understood the miraculous elegance of a functional ecosystem.

The Bells That Still Can Ring: On Rest and Action (Parshat Behar, Leviticus 25:1-26:2)

Rabbi Susan P. Fendrick | Posted 05.24.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Susan P. Fendrick

It is a year of complete freedom for the land and humanity alike, a do-over year, a time to begin all over again. In this context of new beginnings, the choice of Yom Kippur as the day on which to proclaim the Jubilee year does make some spiritual sense.

The Human Soul is a Candle of God: Finding Meaning in Existence (Parashat Emor, Leviticus 21:1-24:23)

Rabbi Daniel Klein | Posted 05.19.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Daniel Klein

My wife's grandmother is 94 years old. She lives alone in the same house she has lived in for decades. She is remarkably healthy, but is at an age when many people would have already moved into a retirement community or an assisted living facility. But she has no interest in moving.

Beyond Ghosts and Familiar Spirits: Finding Holiness in the Old and the New (Parshat Kedoshim, Leviticus 19:1-20:27)

Rabbi Lisa L. Goldstein | Posted 05.10.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Lisa L. Goldstein

We are on a multi-layered journey. On the Jewish holiday calendar, after leaving Egypt two weeks ago with all the attendant fear and drama of Passover we are moving steadily toward the holiday of Shavuot--on which we celebrate the revelation of the Torah--and thus toward Mt. Sinai.

The Mothers of the Priests (Parshat Acharei Mot, Leviticus 16:1-18:30)

Rabbi Lev Meirowitz Nelson | Posted 05.04.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Lev Meirowitz Nelson

Parshat Acharei Mot closes with a long list of the sexual partners forbidden to men, continuing the apparent male-centric nature of the text. On its most obvious level, the women in this parashah are there mainly as passive objects, or are simply absent.

Violence and Vision (Passover: 7th day, Exodus 13:17-15:26; 8th day, Deuteronomy 15:10-16:17)

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg | Posted 04.28.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg

The ancient rabbis chose Isaiah's vision of peace on earth as the prophetic reading to accompany the Torah reading for the 8th day of Passover, the Festival of Freedom.

Meatless Monday: Kosher Vegan

Ellen Kanner | Posted 04.25.2016 | Green
Ellen Kanner

With Passover beginning last week, I've been thinking about the intersection of vegan and kosher. Seems like they'd be good friends. Being vegan means...

The Ones We Leave In Egypt

Avraham Bronstein | Posted 04.20.2016 | Religion
Avraham Bronstein

There are two rabbinic assessments of the state of the Israelites at the time of the Exodus.

Liberation: A Sacred Moment (Passover; Readings for First Days -- Exodus 12:21-51 and Leviticus 22:26-23:44)

Rabbi Arthur Green | Posted 04.18.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Arthur Green

On the second day of Passover, Jews begin a period called sefirat ha-omer, when we publicly count off each day for the next 50, concluding with the holiday of Shavuot. (Hence the Greek term Pentecost, for the 50th day.)

John Kasich: Bigot or Bully?

Lev Raphael | Posted 04.19.2016 | Religion
Lev Raphael

Watching John Kasich lecture Jews about their own holy books isn't just embarrassing, it's infuriating. Kasich dismisses what they say because he knows Judaism better than they do.

The Mitzvah of Getting Dirty (Parshat Metzora, Leviticus 14:1-15:33)

Rabbi Dr. Micha’el Rosenberg | Posted 04.13.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Dr. Micha’el Rosenberg

I am an unabashed lover of Leviticus. And not just the "Be holy," "Love your neighbor as yourself" second half of Leviticus, but especially the "slaughter the cow...sprinkle its blood" first half. "Be holy" sounds great, but what does it actually mean?

Paid Maternity Leave: Are We 'Ready'? (Parshat Tazria, Leviticus 12:1-15:33)

Dr. Sharon Weiss-Greenberg | Posted 04.07.2016 | Religion
Dr. Sharon Weiss-Greenberg

The Torah's narrative is filled with questions, struggles, and lived reality related to maternity. Most of our biblical foremothers struggled with infertility. Great detail and attention is given to empowering women as mothers while recognizing the pain of those who are unable to give birth.

A Broken Heart Can Be the Highest Place

Rabbi Yonah Bookstein | Posted 04.04.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Yonah Bookstein

Our sages teach that embarrassment at our past deeds, a sense of shame and resulting humility, comes from being deeply aware that we are in the presence of God. It is precisely because we feel that we messed up and can do better, that we can merit elevating our lives.

Strange Fire of the Heart (Parashat Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47)

Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman | Posted 03.30.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman

We must draw boundaries around our lives, taking care of our own bodies and needs even as we attend to others. We must dwell in the eye-popping paradox that we are both totally one with God and individual human beings who are blazing with love.

Leadership, Precision, and the Power of Ritual (Parashat Tzav: Leviticus 6:1-8:36)

Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi | Posted 03.23.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi

For decades, many of our prayer books have omitted, rephrased, or reinterpreted the many liturgical references to these ancient sacrifices. And liberal theologies have struggled to find meaning in the priesthood and in the culture of the ancient Temple cult.