All posts by Rabbi Avi Strausberg

Rabbi Avi Strausberg

What Comes After

Parshat Ha’azinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-52) When my wife and I were developing the language of our ketubah, a rabbi offered us an important piece of advice: think seriously about the people who you choose as witnesses for your ketubah. If and when, 5, 10, 20 years down the line, things become difficult in your marriage, should you begin acting toward one another in ways that are hurtful, thoughtless, perhaps even cruel,… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Avi Strausberg

The Promise of Exile

Parshat Va’era (Exodus 6:2-9:35) The year I spent living and traveling in New Zealand was a year in which I lived entirely on what I could carry on my body. All of us backpackers, bouncing at once together and separate from hostel to hostel, were reduced to the same couple of unwashed t-shirts and pants, essentialized versions of ourselves, stripped of what made us distinguishable from one another. It was… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Avi Strausberg

Where Is God in the Flood?

Parshat Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32) In the beginning, there was nothing. When God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth being unformed and void. Except, that’s not exactly true. Because there was something. There was darkness, and there was wind, and there was water. A lot of water. God separated water from water, creating an expanse in between and God gathered all the lower waters together, and dry… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Avi Strausberg

A Web of Family and Friends

Parshat B’midbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20 For many years, I’ve felt like a person without a home. Since I left for college, my mom has moved many times. I have family in Arizona and Israel, New York and New Jersey and even New Zealand, but there’s no obvious single place to go when everyone else goes “home for the holidays”. It’s not just my family that’s far-flung; I’ve done my own share… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Avi Strausberg

The Portable God Box (Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei, Exodus 35:1-40:38)

I’m hesitant to admit it, but I didn’t grow up camping. I’d like for others to imagine me as someone who could hack it wandering around the woods for a few days, but in fact, I’m, quite inept when it comes to setting up tents—or really, constructing anything. There’s something about all of the bending, interlocking rods, those “easy-to-understand” pictorial directions with arrows pointing here and there—my brain goes into… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Avi Strausberg

“The Girl Who Said No”

Parshat Korach, Numbers 16:1-18:32 I run from confrontation.  The very thought of disagreeing with someone makes me breathless.  Yet, as a rabbi, I have to accept that people will not always agree with me. Several months ago, I gave a sermon on a topic that I anticipated might be controversial.  I went back and forth, debating whether or not I should talk about it, but decided that if I didn’t… Read Article →