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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Showing Up to Wrestle with God

In preparation for facilitating my first PTJL group I perused the curriculum and was very excited by the themes and accompanying texts that we would be exploring together.  What parent couldn’t identify with the joys and “oys” of parenting?  However there was one question that kept nagging at me: what happens if God-talk is a real stumbling block for some in the group? How do I navigate that gracefully, making… Read Article →

Community Blog Holly Rossi

The Power of Parenting in Community

A phrase I often repeat to my son comes from Mister Rogers: “There’s no person in the world like you; and I like you just the way you are.” As the first six weeks of my Parenting Through a Jewish Lens (PTJL) class came to a close at Temple Isaiah in Lexington, I found myself thinking of that phrase in a different way. I realized, there are no parents in… Read Article →

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My Sister the Sister

Humans of Hebrew College #HumansHC I am the oldest of five girls. We were raised Catholic and were all very active in the church growing up. I sang in the kids’ choir, founded the teen choir, and served as a church cantor for 7 years. My mom serves in a music director role for our church and other congregations, and my whole family has held leadership roles in the church…. Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Margie Klein Ronkin

You Cannot Do It Alone

Parashat Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23) As a rabbi and organizer for social justice, the past 15 months have been a moral nightmare and an organizer’s dream come true.  As our government increasingly hurts communities of color, poor people, and religious minorities, thousands of concerned citizens—of diverse backgrounds—are coming out of the woodwork, eager to fight back.  Many are entering the political fray for the first time. For years, leaders in the… Read Article →

Uncategorized Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

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 →

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Comfort Care

                          Humans of Hebrew College #HumansHC “As a palliative care hospital chaplain, I offer calm,  compassionate listening, perspectives on Jewish tradition, and guidance to my patients and their families as they navigate their own spiritual journeys into a new and changing reality.” (Rabbi Suzanne Offit is a 2009 graduate of the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College and serves… Read Article →

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Components of Faith

Parashat B’Shalach (Exodus 13:17-17:15) A congregant I’ll call K. just found out she has cancer. “I can’t halt the parade of anxious thoughts,” she tells me. “All my hair will fall out. What if the treatment doesn’t work? I’m going to die.” K. has a good relationship with God. She says “modah ani,” wraps tefillin, and meditates every morning. With the news, however, none of her spiritual practices seem to… Read Article →

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Shehecheyanu Moments

Humans of Hebrew College #HumansHC “Perhaps the most valuable lesson I took from Parenting Through a Jewish Lens was that any moment can be marked with the Shehecheyanu. A baby’s first steps – yes. The cold, clean taste of frigid winter air, and hot tea waiting in a warm house beyond – yes. My son, struggling to balance dependence and autonomy, confidently walking himself next door for a playdate – yes, yes, yes! Shehecheyanu,… Read Article →

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On Approaching the Tyrannical Heart

Parashat Bo (Exodus 10:1-13:16) There is this scene from a tale by Rabbi Nakhman of Breslov that’s been hounding me lately. In it, the world has fallen under the sway of a handful of tyrants. Each tyrant claims a different moral truth. Each truth-claim begets a different moralizing discourse. As these discourses proliferate, the world divides, polarizes, rends itself apart. Mountains quake. The earth comes undone. Into the midst of… Read Article →