All posts by Rabbi Jim Morgan

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi JIm Morgan

Shabbat and the Persistence of Slavery

Parashat Va’etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:27-7:11) Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.  – James Baldwin Nearly seventy years after its publication, Ralph Ellison’s masterpiece, The Invisible Man, continues to resonate with our nation’s continued experience of race, violence, and blindness. The horrifying scene of white cop murdering an unarmed black man, Brother Tod Clifton, finds echoes in too many American places, as… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi JIm Morgan

Joseph, Pharaoh, and the Perpetual Stranger

Parashat Mikeitz (Genesis 41:1-44:17) This year, as is often the case, we read Parashat Mikeitz on Shabbat Hanukkah, a celebration of light that affirms the durability of our Jewish identity during periods of assimilation and even oppression. In one such period—of assimilation in the United States and of genocide in Europe—Muriel Rukeyser spoke about the gift of being a Jew: To be a Jew in the twentieth century Is to… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Jim Morgan

Wonder Woman and Pinchas: The Persistent Appeal of Zealotry

(Parashat Pinchas Numbers 25:10 – 30:1) In the film Wonder Woman (2017), the heroine, played by Israeli actress Gal Gadot, intervenes in World War I on the side of the Allies. She zealously seeks the destruction of Ares, the god of war (the gods are almost Greek, but seem not to be immortal). Along with her multicultural group of allies, she determines that Ares has incarnated himself as the supreme… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi Jim Morgan

Shame and Drawing Close to Holiness (Parshat Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47)

In a 2016 New York Times Op-Ed, Sally L. Satel and Scott O. Lilienfeld observe that modern American culture has been “down on shame [as] a damaging, useless emotion that we should neither feel ourselves nor make others feel.” This trend is unfortunate, they argue, because it ignores the positive role that “appropriate shame”—which they define as “the feeling that one has failed to live up to one’s own standards”—can play… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Jim Morgan

Poetry and the Blessings of Misunderstanding

 Parshat Noach, Genesis 6:9-11:32 There are utterances — their meaning Is obscure or negligible, But to attend to them Without agitation is impossible. Mikhail Lermontov, 1840 As we come to the close of a bitter election season, in which the use and misuse of language has loomed so large, this week’s Torah portion, Noach, gives us an opportunity to ponder both the importance and the challenges of linguistic diversity. Parts… Read Article →