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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Judith_with_the_Head_of_Holofernes_by_Cristofano_Allori

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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The Power to Choose

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Director, Makor
November 12, 2014

Do you miss the campaign ads on television? I know I do … not! (If you are Xfinity owners, you could skip all the ads by watching your shows On Demand. Sshh! Don’t tell the candidates!) Putting the commercials aside, this past Election Day demonstrated that every votes count. Be it the gubernatorial race here […]

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Resting Beneath the Tree

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Parshat Vayera, Genesis 18:1-22:24
November 4, 2014

In Parshat Vayera, we meet Abraham resting near the entrance of his tent. He notices three weary travelers approaching, and he runs to greet them, with no regard for the intense heat of the day (as one midrash tells us)–or the fact that he is still healing after having circumcised himself as a part of […]

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Wandering and Welcoming

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Lech Lecha, Genesis 12:1-17:27
Dean, Rabbinical School
October 29, 2014

This week’s Torah reading begins with the command, “Lech lecha”: Go forth. Go out from your land and from your father’s house. Go. When my husband and I first met, he told me that his family had a kind of motto: “Set yourself in motion and things will happen to you.” My own family did not really have […]

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We Are All Noah Now

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People's Climate March New York

October 23, 2014

On Sept. 21, I joined 400,000 people on the streets of New York City for the People’s Climate March. Painted with the words “We are all Noah now” and “People of faith call for climate action,” a large wooden ark rolled along as part of the interfaith section of the colorful throngs. Jews marched with […]

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