All posts by Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

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

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 →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

With Strong Hands and Outstretched Arms

Parashat Shemot (Exodus 1:1-6:1) The story of our departure from Egypt begins with a cry—the deep, inarticulate cry of pain and longing that rises up from the bellies of the Israelite slaves and ascends to heaven. It is their cry, in this week’s Torah portion, that—after generations of slavery—finally evokes a response from God, and sets the process of liberation in motion. “The Israelites were groaning under their bondage and… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

“Just as one candle ignites another, may we ignite each other’s spirits”

For a long time, my mother has had two photographs hanging on her dining room wall. The first is a photograph of an empty city street at night, with one small light illuminating a darkened storefront. The second is photograph of a vast frozen field of snow, with a family of four bundled up in their winter coats and huddled together in the foreground. My mother, an amateur photographer herself,… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

Gratitude Abounds: Remarks from Hebrew College’s President-Elect

This summer I spent a lot of time with an article called The Gift Must Always Move By the translator and poet Lewis Hyde. It is about gratitude, And about cultures of gratitude. It’s about living with an awareness of the gifts we have received And are constantly receiving – And the generosity that flows from that awareness. To know how much one has been given By other people By… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

“We must choose life in the world we’ve got, and plant our gardens on this side of the rainbow”

An ancient rabbinic midrash tells us that God created and destroyed many worlds before bringing this one into being. The tale speaks, I believe, to an impulse that is all too familiar. The impulse—when confronted with profound disappointment—to destroy in order to begin again. This is the impulse that overtakes God, as it were, at the very end of last week’s Torah portion. “The Lord saw how great was man’s… Read Article →

Community Blog Hebrew College Tablet Logo

Grateful for the Fragile Gift of Life

Dear friends, As we begin our celebration of Sukkot this week, I am more aware than ever of the paradox at the heart of this festival. Sukkot is known, on the one hand, as “z’man simchateinu,” or the “time of our joy.” It has its origins in the fullness of the harvest season.  We are invited, summoned—commanded, in fact—to celebrate all that we have received, to rejoice in the abundance… Read Article →

Community Blog Hebrew College Tablet Logo

Hope for Renewal

Dear friends, Tomorrow evening, Jewish communities around the world will gather to celebrate the beginning of a new year. Hope for renewal stirs especially deeply within us during this season.  We imagine ourselves standing before the gates of a new year, before the gates of possibility, repentance, return, and repair.  But of course the real question is whether we will take the risk of unlocking the gates inside of us. … Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

First Questions

(Parashat Ki Tetzei, Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19) In Jewish sacred time, we have entered the season of teshuva. Often translated as repentance, teshuva comes from the Hebrew root meaning to return. However lost we feel, however far we have wandered – there is a way back. It is possible to find our way home – to God, to ourselves, to one another. At the heart of this season, then, is both a summons and an embrace…. Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

Speaking Torah: Allow the human breath to be a summons and a blast

This reflection is an excerpt from the Hebrew College High Holiday Companion, published in August 2017, for study and reflection during the High Holidays. Learn more and order your copy. As we enter the month of Av this week, and the period of nine days leading to Tisha b’Av, we begin a sustained period of heshbon nefesh and teshuva— soul-searching and self-reflection on a national, communal, and personal level.  The great Talmud scholar, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz… Read Article →