Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Sue Fendrick

The Bells That Still Can Ring: On Rest and Action

I wonder if there is a song lyric quoted more often in High Holiday sermons than the chorus of Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem”: “Ring the bells that still can ring/Forget your perfect offering/There is a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in.” It’s not hard to see the homiletical appeal of Cohen’s poignant words to congregations of imperfect human beings. Nor is it a stretch to understand why these words… Read Article →

Rabbinical School Divrei Torah Hebrew College Tablet Logo

Getting to Fifty: Some texts evoking thoughts about Shavu’ot as the day following the 49th day

Introduction Shavo’ut is unique among the biblical pilgrimage holidays in that it is not identified by date. It is celebrated on the day following the completion of counting seven weeks, or forty-nine days beginning on the day after the celebration of Pesah. In the Zohar, these forty-nine days are connected to the rabbinic notion of “gates of understanding”. When the Israelites were in Egypt they defiled themselves with all kinds… Read Article →

Rabbinical School Divrei Torah Hebrew College Tablet Logo

Sefirot HaOmer

Over the past few years, the somewhat esoteric practice of connecting the counting of the Omer to the seven lower sefirot has been gaining popularity in liberal Jewish circles. The usual structure for this practice is to devote each of the seven weeks to one sefirah and within each week to devote one day to each sefirah. Every day is thus dedicated to a primary (of the week) and secondary… Read Article →

Community Blog Daniel-Lehmann

The Sacred Work of Interreligious Learning and Leadership

nter-re was recently elected board chair of the Boston Theological Institute (BTI), a position I am honored to hold. The chair rotates among board members, but my election is significant in terms of the change it represents in the mission and direction of the BTI. BTI provides Hebrew College with the opportunity to learn from and contribute to an inter-religious community of institutions that share a common purpose in training the next generation… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Klein

The Human Soul is a Candle of God: Finding Meaning in Existence

Parashat Emor, Leviticus 21:1-24:23 (Also read this blog on The Huffington Post) 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. As we age, leaving our homes… Read Article →

Community Blog Keren McGinity

Interfaith Families Jewish Engagement

Keren McGinity, Ph.D., director of the new  Interfaith Families Jewish Engagement (IFJE) program at Hebrew College’s Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education, weighs in on educating Jewish communal professionals to work with interfaith families. Q. Why is it important to have a program in interfaith family Jewish engagement? It is important because intermarriage is a prevalent reality in American society. Jewish communal professionals need to have the education and skills to serve the… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Lisa Goldstein

Beyond Ghosts and Familiar Spirits: Finding Holiness in the Old and the New

Parshat Kedoshim, Leviticus 19:1-20:27 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. In the Torah reading cycle, this week’s Torah portion, Kedoshim, gives us a small taste of what we might… Read Article →

Parenting Through a Jewish Lens Elizabeth Bailey Strzetelski

Chores for Shabbat

This fall, my husband and I participated in Parenting Through a Jewish Lens (PTJL) at BJEP. It has given us the confidence to explore our own personal Jewish identities and create meaningful family traditions. The session “Shabbat: A Time to Reconnect and Recharge” inspired us to do just that. Over the past few months, Shabbat has become a time to unplug from the external world and to focus on the internal… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Lev Nelson

The Mothers of the Priests

Parshat Acharei Mot, Leviticus 16:1-18:30 “Elisheva had five reasons to rejoice above the other daughters of Israel: her brother-in-law was king; her husband, High Priest; her sons, deputy [priests], her grandson, a priest-ordained-for-war; and her brother, chieftain of a tribe—and [yet] she had to mourn two sons.” (Talmud, Zevachim 102a) When Nadav and Avihu died on the great day of the inauguration of the mishkan, the tabernacle in the wilderness,… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Jonathan Wittenberg

Violence and Vision

Passover: seventh day, Exodus 13:17-15:26; eighth day, Deuteronomy 15:10-16:17 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. The wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard lie down with the kid, calf and young lion and fatling together, and a little child shall lead them…(Isaiah 11:6) “Indeed!” observed one of my teachers… Read Article →