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Torah

Eternally Immigrants (Parshat Ki Tavo, Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8)

Rabbi Joshua Stanton | Posted 08.31.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Joshua Stanton

The Torah takes a radical stand on immigration -- and compels us to take a radical stand as well. We cannot simply judge immigrants. We must in a sense become them for a moment, through ritual practice, so that we can more fully feel their pain.

Telling Stories of Trauma for Healing and Compassion (Parshat Ki Tetzei, Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19)

Adam Lavitt | Posted 08.27.2015 | Religion
Adam Lavitt

In the biblical text, Moses must become a storyteller. In this week's parashah, Ki Tetzei, he stands at the edge of the desert and faces the Israelite people, who gaze over his shoulder toward the promised land.

Pursuing Justice, Pursued by Love (Parshat Shoftim, Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9)

Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman | Posted 08.21.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman

We may be pursuing justice, but loving-kindness is pursuing us. As we chase after our ideals, as we rightfully cry out to help give birth to the world that we know is possible, may we also let chesed not only pursue us but catch up to us. May we let her wrap us in her fierce embrace as she opens our hearts.

Seeing Past, Present and Future On the Road to Justice (Parashat Re'eh, Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17)

Rabbi Daniel Klein | Posted 08.10.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Daniel Klein

See, look, pay attention, the Torah commands us, because actually seeing is hard and complicated, and requires extraordinary effort to battle both external and internal distractions.

While Standing On One Foot: A Compassion Practice

Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld | Posted 08.06.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

Stand on one foot, and recite the words: "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow." Lean on something or someone if you need to. Do it alone or with other people. Say it in whatever language you want -- whatever language speaks to your heart.

Torah, World Politics and Iran

Rabbi Arthur Waskow | Posted 08.03.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Arthur Waskow

How does our Jewish community make a decision on an issue that is crucial to our own future and the fate of the world around us -- like the decision that faces us now about making sure that Iran adheres to its own claim that it does not intend to produce nuclear weapons?

A Purpose-Driven Tribe (Parshat Ekev, Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25)

Rabbi David Jaffe | Posted 08.03.2015 | Religion
Rabbi David Jaffe

When we act alone, a purpose-driven Jewish life can lend itself to individualism. When all I care about is how well I am living my purpose, I may see other people as an obstacle to self-fulfillment.

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?