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 rachel-adelman

What is Written in the Book of Human Begettings?

Parashat Bereishit (Genesis, 1:1-6:8) As the saying goes: “All beginnings are difficult.” We are reading Bereshit, “In the beginning…,” again. It is the start of a New Year and I am filled with the tentative joy and trepidation of Yom Kippur in Jerusalem. Just at the opening of the gates at Kol Nidrei, I stood with my three-month-old granddaughter, Naomi Tzipora, in my arms—my daughter and son-in-law by my side—filled… Read Article →

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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 →

Community Blog Keith 2012 US Junior National Curling Champions

5 Tips from a Parent-Coach

Keith Dropkin, Vice President for Finance & Administration at Hebrew College, is also a coach for USA Curling, training athletes in the US Olympic High Performance Program. His teams have represented the country at World Championships, Youth Olympics and other international events across Europe, Canada and throughout the US. Keith was an athlete in his younger days, playing soccer competitively for 25 years, and at the national level in curling… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Dan Judson, Director of Professional Development and Placement

A Pink Sukkah: A Suggestion for New Jewish Ritual

Parshat Sukkot (Leviticus 22:26-23:44) There is a story told of Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev that he was feeling chalisha [weak] before the holiday of Sukkot began. He had worn himself out with the fervency of his Yom Kippur prayers. His students gathered around him and waved an Etrog under his nose and the strong and unique smell of the fruit revived his spirits and he entered the season with the… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Michael-Rosenberg

The Weight of Our Wrongs

Yom Kippur (Leviticus 16:1-34; 18:1-30) Yom Kippur is the single most significant day of the Jewish calendar. And so it’s certainly not coincidental that the Torah reading for Yom Kippur, stands in the center of the Torah. Almost precisely at the middle of the middle book of the Torah, we find a description of the rites that would take place in the Tabernacle on the Day of Atonement.  On this most central of days, we… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah rabbi-solomon.100px

Angels in the Wilderness

Ha’azinu/Shabbat Shuva, Deuteronomy 32:1-52 Early in Genesis we find Hagar, with  dust in her hair and on her feet. Hagar is Abraham’s handmaid, pregnant with his first and oldest son, running from her master’s home. She runs furiously into the wilderness and stops by an עֵין הַמַּיִם, a spring or more literally, an eye of water. In Genesis 16:7-8 we read: And an angel of the Lord found her [Hagar]… Read Article →

Community Blog Weinberg family pre 1937

Heartache, reconciliation, and connection: Exploring my roots in Germany this summer

This July, my husband, children, and I took a long-awaited trip to Paris to visit close relatives who live there and enjoy wonderful museums, stunning monuments, and, of course, delicious baguettes. We hoped it would be a fun and eye-opening trip for our 9- and 12-year-old children who had never left the country, and it was! In the process of planning, I started thinking about doing something I’d never considered… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Jane Kanarek

Not in Heaven: Neutrality or Responsibility

(Nitzavim/Vayalekh, Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20, 31:1-30) Like all too many, I had an ambivalent relationship with my childhood Hebrew School. As a young child, I enjoyed it. I loved learning to read Hebrew, to chant the Shema, and to tell the Torah’s stories. But as I got older, I started to rebel against my four-day-a-week school. Much as I loved playing the ballgame gaga during break and relished sneaking in candy from… Read Article →