All posts by Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

What Does Courage Look Like?

Who is rich? The one who rejoices in his portion. (Pirke Avot) In the midst of these profoundly divisive and divided times, I have noticed a troubling trend among people in my own communities, and, if I’m honest, even within myself. We long to respond with courage to a world that is, in so many ways, ravaged with violence—both the slow violence of poverty and systemic injustice, and the more… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

Hesed is at the heart of our work as educators, cantors, and as rabbis

This week, I had the privilege of attending the Jewish Education Innovation Challenge (JEIC) 2018 Retreat –a wonderful gathering of educators, investors, and leaders in the world of Jewish day school education. Over the course of the retreat, we were asked to think deeply about the purpose of day school education. We were asked to reflect on our own values, and how we would bring those values to life in a… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

We who are the gardeners are also the garden

This season of the Omer, when we literally count the days from Passover to Shavuot, is all about getting from here to there. Rooted in the agricultural rhythms of ancient Israel, it’s a time of both anxiety and anticipation, as farmers waited to see what the season’s first wheat harvest would yield. In our mythic history, it’s about getting from Egypt to Sinai, from the world of Pharaoh to the… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

Our Children Are Leading the Way

Last Shabbat, in cities across the United States, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people gathered to march against gun violence. The demonstrations were galvanized by the extraordinary leadership of the high school students in Parkland, Florida, who have responded to their own personal tragedy by taking action with a sense of clarity and courage that has sort of taken our collective breath away. The protests were diverse—parents and grandparents,… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

“Betzalel came and healed the wound.”

Last week’s parsha, Ki Tisa, recounts what is quite possibly the lowest moment in the relationship between God and the people of Israel in the entire Torah. Last week, when Moshe and God became aware of the chasm between what was happening on top of the mountain and what was happening down below, it was devastating. Whatever made the people build that golden calf—whether it was lack of imagination, or… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

Speaking Torah: Mi Yodea. Who knows?

I have come to believe that the most important verse in the entire megillah—the verse that represents the pivotal turning point in the Purim story – comes near the end of chapter four, when Mordechai sends a message to Esther, urging her to reveal her identity to King Achashverosh and plead on behalf of the Jewish people.  Remarkably, Mordechai’s message to Esther hinges on two simple words – two words… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

Speaking Torah: The Capacity to Understand

The command—not to oppress the stranger—is rooted in our own experience of strangeness.  It is repeated no fewer than 36 times in the Torah, but, in this week’s parasha, I imagine how it must have sounded to the ears of those newly freed slaves who stood trembling at the base of the mountain—exhausted, elevated, and called to radical empathy. Remember all that you have been through, and then translate it… Read Article →

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Speaking Torah: Shabbat Shirah

It is tempting to see this week’s Torah portion as the hinge on which the entire story of the Exodus swings. The process that began with a Cry—the deep, inarticulate cry of slaves so beaten down that they could not muster a protest or even a prayer—now culminates in Song. It is tempting to see this as the Big Turning Point—when we finally leave Egypt behind and step gratefully into… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

Rabbi Daniel Judson Named New Rabbinical School Dean

A Letter from President-Elect Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld Dear friends, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Rabbi Daniel Judson as the new Dean of the Hebrew College Rabbinical School. Rabbi Arthur Green (founding Dean and Rector of the Rabbinical School) and I have asked Dan to assume this role. We are confident that he is the right person to carry the program forward, working closely with both of us as we… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

Speaking Torah: Some say…

“To act in the image of the God of Exodus is to reach  out to each other  with our own  strong  hands and outstretched arms.” As we open our calendars to the start of the secular New Year this week, we open the Torah scroll to the beginning of Sefer Shemot, the first chapters of the Exodus story. It is difficult to say exactly where the journey out of Egypt begins. Some… Read Article →