Choosing to Light

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Director of Admissions and Student Life, Rabbinical School
December 17, 2014

What’s the big deal with the miracle of Hanukkah? A little oil lasted longer than it should have. And to what end? What really was at stake? Had the oil only lasted a day or had the Maccabees not lit the menorah at all, the only consequence would have been waiting a few more days […]

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To Give

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Senior Development Officer
December 15, 2014

Recently, as we prepared for our end of year appeal, a colleague asked if it was appropriate to solicit donations from those who receive tuition assistance. It is a frequent question, asked with consideration for those in need. My answer is always the same: in both Jewish tradition and fundraising best practice, it is not […]

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The Power of the Powerless

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Vayeshev, Genesis 37:1-40:23
December 9, 2014

One aspect of the Torah that has always intrigued me is the way in which its authors recognize the constraints of the society in which they live, and push against those constraints, even if they cannot imagine doing away with them altogether. Embedded within this week’s Torah portion, Vayeshev, is just such a story, plunked […]

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I and I

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Vayishlach, Genesis 32:4-36:42
December 4, 2014

Jacob’s struggle in this week’s Torah portion is framed by revelations about the meanings embedded in places and names. Nothing surprising there — who gives a name, what that name means and how a place becomes known for the transformative moments occurring upon it, all define much of the biblical story. Vayishlach begins with our […]

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Gates of Tears

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Student, The Rabbinical School of Hebrew College
November 25, 2014

In this week’s parsha, we are deep in a difficult family story. Yitzhak and Rivka struggle to conceive and after she conceives, the struggle continues in her womb. It gets no simpler once their sons are born. Esav emerges first, hairy and red, followed closely by Yaakov, clinging tightly to Esav’s heel. The boys are […]

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The Long Journey of Cultivating Gratitude

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Vayetze, Genesis 28:10-32:3
November 25, 2014

This week, we celebrate Thanksgiving, which for many of us is less about gratitude and more about consumption, consumerism and perhaps some family discord. Dedicating time to be grateful is hard. It’s often easier to think about what we don’t have or what’s not going quite right yet than it is to stop, clear out […]

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Grieving in the First Person Plural

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Dean, Rabbinical School
November 20, 2014

To speak at all in this moment feels tricky, treacherous even – but I feel compelled to try. I alternate between feeling there is really nothing to say, and feeling there is too much to say – what has happened, what is happening in Jerusalem is such a terrifying and tangled web of human suffering […]

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The Forgotten Miracle of Hanukkah

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Professor of Jewish Women’s Studies
November 20, 2014

Why is this month (Kislev) different from all other months in the Jewish year? It offers us a holiday (Hanukkah) that (at least in the Northern hemisphere) resists and subverts the natural order. At the darkest time of year, we celebrate light. And the stories we tell to explain our rituals of creating light emphasize […]

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Something New, Higher and Unexpected

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Parshat Toldot, Genesis 25:19 - 28:9
November 20, 2014

Jews are known as the People of the Book. This designation speaks to Judaism’s focus on the intellect, its emphasis on theological argumentation and dedicated study. However, it is clear from the Torah that Jews also come from a long line of people rooted in the earth — from the first humans in the Garden […]

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Honoring the Past by Looking Forward

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Chayyei Sarah, Genesis 23:1-25:18
November 12, 2014

Reading this week’s Torah reading, this week, is almost physically painful. The parasha (Torah reading) — named after “Sarah’s life,” but beginning with her death — begins with the elaborately described process of Abraham’s acquiring a burial place for his wife. The description takes up an entire chapter of Genesis. Everyone in this passage seems […]

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