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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 →

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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 →

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A Seat at the Table

“Pluralism is central to who I am religiously. Yes, I identify as a conservative Jew, but I take pieces from reform, orthodox, reconstructionist, chasidism—a little bit of everything—to make who I am as a Jew. Hebrew College supports that. And that’s important to my work as I encounter different styles of Judaism. The idea that we all have a seat at the table of Judaism is core to Hebrew College… Read Article →

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Ha’yom Harat Olam: Today the World is Conceived

BY RABBI NEHEMIA POLEN AND RABBI MICHAEL SHIRE These reflections  are excerpts 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. RABBI NEHEMIA POLEN: Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev explores the shape of the Jewish calendar: Why does it begin in the fall? Given that the Talmud records a dispute about whether Rosh Hashanah occurs in the… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Adina Allen

Will We Listen?

(Ki Tavo, Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8) In this week’s parsha, Moses sets two paths before the Israelites as they prepare to enter the land. If they heed God’s word, the Israelites will be blessed in every way possible and will be established as am kadosh, a holy people to God. If, however, they do not heed God, they will be cursed in every way imaginable. Their communities will be torn apart, their… 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 →

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“One Thing I Ask of YHWH: Humility and the Spirituality of Speech”

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. It is customary to begin reciting Psalm 27 on the first day of Elul, one month before Rosh Hashanah, and continuing through Sukkot. Like the sounding of the shofar, this twice-daily practice (morning and night) is intended to help us reflect on… Read Article →

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“If you see something, sing something.”

Parshat Shoftim, Deuteronomy 16:18 – 21:9 “What are you writing about?” my mother asks. And I grumble at her because I’m sure that talking about it will only reveal how thoroughly undeveloped my thinking really is. But then I remember that — even though I am sitting in her house and using her computer — I am, in fact, a grown up and she is, in fact, someone who is… Read Article →

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13 lessons Learned from Parenting Through a Jewish Lens in its B’nai Mitzvah Year

I first heard about Parenting Through a Jewish Lens (PTJL) – then called Ikkarim – from a friend in 2006. We were seated next to each other at a Rosh Chodesh group as I nursed my infant. She raved about the program, then in its second year, and told me I should sign up. Fast forward several years, and in 2012 I registered for PTJL and agreed to be the… Read Article →