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Torah

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

Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin | Posted 03.31.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin

Without offering or giving something up, what would love really mean? What would commitment really mean if we never made a meaningful effort to show it? The whole book of Leviticus is about showing such effort

Jesus Is My Homeboy

Yolanda Shoshana | Posted 03.30.2015 | 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 03.26.2015 | 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 Real Meaning of Passover

Rabbi Manis Friedman | Posted 03.23.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Manis Friedman

Do you want to know the real meaning of Passover? Okay. Then let's start by asking, who was Pharaoh? What made him such an important villain?

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

Rabbi Marc Baker | Posted 03.19.2015 | 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 03.12.2015 | 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 03.04.2015 | 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.

The Golden Calf: Managing the Noncompliant Client

Howard J. Curzer | Posted 03.02.2015 | Religion
Howard J. Curzer

The golden calf passage is usually and correctly taken to describe a gross failure on the part of the Israelites. However, a seldom noticed aspect of the passage is that Moses' first responses are also failures.

How to Drive the Internet Highway Fearlessly, to Promote Religious Harmony

Molly Alexander Darden | Posted 02.24.2015 | Religion
Molly Alexander Darden

If religious leaders are to help influence society to live harmoniously, they will have to take courage and learn this 'new' way, or they can sit back and know they are probably not meeting their full potential.

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

Reb Mimi Feigelson | Posted 02.25.2015 | 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.

Compulsory Love: What the Building of the Tabernacle Can Teach Us About Valentine's Day (Parshat Terumah, Exodus 25:1-27:19)

Rabbi Joshua Ratner | Posted 02.18.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Joshua Ratner

The main reason I resist it is that I reject the very premise of the holiday: choosing an arbitrary time for the compulsory enunciation and celebration of love. After all, do I love my spouse, my mother, and other family members any more on February 14 than I do the other days of the year?

Acting With Godliness

Rabbi Yonah Bookstein | Posted 02.16.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Yonah Bookstein

The Torah tells us in Parsha Mishpatim, that we are to "Distance yourself from falsehood." (Ex. 23:7) No other transgression, said Rabbi Simcha Bunim of Przysucha, has this commandment. What it is about falsehood that God is so concerned about us falling into?

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

Rabbi Joshua Stanton | Posted 02.11.2015 | 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.

What's More Important Than the Ten Commandments?

Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, Ph.D. | Posted 02.11.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, Ph.D.

Our wise ancestors who wrote the Bible immediately followed the giving of the 10 Commandments with an even more powerful ethically demanding portion called, Mishpatim in Hebrew.

Learning From the Friendly Outsider (Parshat Yitro, Exodus 18:1-20:23)

Rabbi Arthur Green | Posted 02.05.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Arthur Green

What I have to say next applies to both Jews and Muslims; I say it to both. You live inside a bigger world. Not everyone is your enemy. There are plenty of Midianites out there, outsiders to your particularity, who wish you well.

Why We Know So Little About Moses and Jesus

Bernard Starr | Posted 02.04.2015 | Religion
Bernard Starr

The dearth of information about the formative influences on towering biblical figures such as Moses and Jesus has invited some skeptics to question whether they actually existed.

A Tale of Two Markets

Daniel Raphael Silverstein | Posted 02.03.2015 | Religion
Daniel Raphael Silverstein

In the face of the fragility of life and mighty forces of hatred and fear, many will lapse into denial or despair, making decisions from a place of spiritual defeat. This is not what our tradition asks of us. We are called to fully acknowledge the reality of evil, and lovingly perpetuate life in spite of it.

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.

A Million People in Paris Teach Us What Religion Is Really All About

Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, Ph.D. | Posted 03.15.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, Ph.D.

A million people marched in Paris this week. A million men, women and children, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists, and those with no religious label at all, marching simply to demonstrate their ultimate humanity that crosses religious distinctions.

In the Name of God: The Possibility of Passion and Tolerance (Parshat Vaera, Exodus 6:2-9:35)

Rabbi Herzl Hefter | Posted 03.15.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Herzl Hefter

R. Simcha Bunim of Przysucha (1765-1827), one of the great Hasidic masters in Poland, explained it by breaking it into two parts. The letter shin is a prefix meaning "that", and "dai" means "enough". She dai would mean, "that [which] is sufficient."

Jacob and Esau: Lessons for Israelis and Palestinians Today

Rabbi Michael M. Cohen | Posted 03.10.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Michael M. Cohen

Both sides have become very adept at viewing all of what the other does as being provocative and mistrusting. And while that can be true with particular actions, both sides have allowed themselves to fall into the dangerous trap of limiting their understanding of the other by such a myopic approach.

These Are My Names (Parshat Shemot, Exodus 1:1-6:1)

Rabbi Minna Bromberg | Posted 03.09.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Minna Bromberg

We cannot always control what we lose or gain in life's transitions, and even the happiest transitions (like getting married or becoming parents) can be jarring. I don't always get to choose how my name will be spelled or said. But sometimes, I get to choose how I will hear it.

Russell Crowe, The Creator, and Climate Change

Lev Raphael | Posted 03.04.2015 | Comedy
Lev Raphael

Sometimes I avoid controversial movies until the brouhaha has died down, dried up and blown away like a tumbleweed in an old western. I like to watch those movies with a fresh eye, but with Noah, it turns out the fuss last Spring was actually much more entertaining than the film.

Other Stories, Others' Stories (Parshat Vayechi, Genesis 47:28 - 50:26)

Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer | Posted 03.04.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer

This November, I attended the first annual conference of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom. Afterwards, I posted on my Facebook page a picture of 100 Jewish and Muslim women--old and young; bareheaded, hijabi, and a few in yarmulkes.