Seventy Faces of Torah shoshana-friedman

All Who “Wander” Are Not Lost

Parshat B’ha’alotcha, Numbers 8:1-12:16 Like many of us, I found out about the Orlando massacre on Shavuot. It was a terrifying and terrible moment. Once again, our nation was plunged into mourning over deaths that shouldn’t have happened, at the hands of hatred that shouldn’t exist and automatic weapons that shouldn’t be available. At the same time, the Jewish community was celebrating one of our most joyful holidays, the festival… Read Article →

Community Blog Hebrew College Tablet Logo

Jewish Early Engagement Forum (JEEF): A Conversation with Founder Rachel Raz, MJEd’06

Why did you create JEEF? Raz: I founded JEEF for the betterment of the future of the Jewish community in the United States. I want young Jewish families to have rich, meaningful Jewish experiences and strong and proud Jewish identities. I have seen  changes in society that are creating many challenges for our young Jewish families, and JEEF will provide an unprecedented opportunity to bring together professionals, institutions and organizations in order… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah jordan-braunig

How Far We Haven’t Come

Parshat Naso, B’midbar 4:21-7:89 There should be a name for the particular sense of pride, the utter self-righteousness, that arises when we modern readers encounter the deeply problematic practices of our Israelite ancestors and proclaim our own cultural advancement. There is truly no better time to assert our moral superiority, to affirm our ethical evolution, than when we confront ancient rituals like that of the ordeal of the bitter waters… Read Article →

Community Blog rose-web

Heschel’s Vision of the Sabbath: A Contemporary Challenge

In preparing for the launch of Heart-to-Heart, a new program of Hebrew College’s Miller Center for Interreligious Learning and Leadership, I reread many selections from Abraham Joshua Heschel’s classic text, The Sabbath. First published in 1951, this poetic gem has been read by countless spiritual seekers–Jewish and non-Jewish alike–throughout the world. As I flipped through the tattered pages of my copy of the book, I was struck again by Heschel’s remarkable ability… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Ariel Evan Mayse

The Forgetful Sands of the Wilderness

Parshat B’midbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20 The biblical book of Numbers continues the story of a people adrift and unmoored, winding their way through the empty wilderness. Much has happened thus far, including times of elation as well as failure; ours has not been a linear journey. God’s self-revelation and the giving of the Torah at Sinai was followed by the sin of the Golden Calf, and then the command to build… Read Article →

Community Blog elisha 2016

Are we Off Topic?

Five sets of parents sat around the stylish South End living room, all very comfortable with one another after two-plus years of learning together. This comfort wasn’t just an extension of the hours they’d sat swapping parenting struggles and tips, or looking at texts to find layers of meaning that could add to their family life. They’d also spent time with one another’s families outside of the monthly meetings, and… Read Article →

Community Blog blintzes

A Kosher State of Mind…

What is it with Jewish holidays and food?  We each have our seasonal favorites.  Latkes on Chanukah, Matza brie on Passover, apples and honey on Rosh Hashanah; they all come and go with the cycle of the Jewish calendar.  This week, I am preparing dairy foods for the upcoming holiday of Shavuot, which marks the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.  One reason for eating dairy is that the… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Alicia-Jo-Rabins

Back to the Garden

When I moved from New York City to Portland three years ago, my life changed in many ways. One of the biggest: I began to garden. Gardening may not sound like a big deal. But for me, it’s been life-changing. Not only are the herbs, fruits, vegetables, and flowers I’ve been tending delicious and gorgeous; they’ve also become great teachers of Torah for me. They teach me daily about time,… Read Article →

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 →