How Hebrew College Helped Me Advance in My Career

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Director of Enrollment and Tuition Assistance, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
March 26, 2015

Three years ago, I was stuck. I had topped out at my job, unable to grow professionally without a degree in Jewish education. I have always been passionate about Jewish education, and wanted to do more, and to find a way to make a real impact on the field. I saw how my amazing colleagues, […]

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Making Meaning of the Ashes in Our Lives

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Tzav, Leviticus 6:1-8:36
March 26, 2015

“…This is the Torah of the burnt offering… let the priest wear his cloth garments…and lift the ashes from the fire that consumed the burnt offering… and place them near the altar” (Leviticus 6:2-3). When we think of sacrifices and gifts to others, we think of important things: objects of beauty and value, gestures that […]

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Make a Big Mess and Play with Everything and Other Educational Models

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Assistant Dean for Academic Development and Advising, Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education
March 25, 2015

Nine of us crowded around the mikveh.  I sat on the floor with several of my students, while others leaned against the door jamb, squatted by the side of the ‘pool,’ or leaned against a wall.  From my vantage point on the floor, I was struck by the variety and state of our shoes.  One […]

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The Importance of “Calling”

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March 19, 2015

(Parshat Vayikra, Leviticus 1:1-5:26/Shabbat haHodesh) We live in a busy, noisy world of multimedia overload, fast-paced online communication and expectations of increased personal and professional productivity. Technology and social media have revolutionized how we communicate and what we expect of one another. I have grown accustomed to short, pithy email and text exchanges with colleagues […]

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Building Devotion

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Vayakhel/Pekudei, Exodus 35:1-40:38
March 12, 2015

Judaism is often described as a religion of law, an identity that it shares with Islam. But it is perhaps more accurate to consider Judaism as a religion defined by its commitment to embodied practice and experience. This is abundantly clear in the final chapters of Exodus, which concludes with a series of intricate laws […]

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From Prophets to Process: Purim Ponderings

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President, Hebrew College
March 4, 2015

Rabbi Zadok Hakohen of Lublin (1823-1900) traces the development of the Oral Law to the time of Purim. The basic founding of the Oral Torah began with the men of the Great Assembly … in that generation lived the last prophets … for with the demise of that generation prophecy was stopped up and the […]

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More Than One Thing: Purim and Reflections of the Image of God

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Ki Tissa, Exodus 30:11 - 34:35
Dean, Rabbinical School
March 4, 2015

Megillat Esther, which we read on the holiday of Purim this week, is a flamboyant, even farcical tale of good and evil. Its characters on the face of it are caricatures of human virtue and vice: Achashueras, the foolish king who sits on the throne but exercises no true leadership or authority; Haman, the sinister power […]

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Remembering the Future: Memories of the Heart

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Tetzaveh, Exodus 27:20-30:10
February 25, 2015

This Shabbat, the weekly Torah portion, Tetzaveh, embraces the consecration of the priesthood to God, and the special designated Torah reading for the Shabbat prior to Purim, known as Shabbat Zachor, commands us to remember/not forget our encounter with Amalek, who sought to destroy us. A kaleidoscope of voices and texts construct and reconstruct our […]

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Compulsory Love: What the Building of the Tabernacle Can Teach Us About Valentine’s Day

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Terumah, Exodus 25:1-27:19
February 19, 2015

I have a fraught relationship with Valentine’s Day. Perhaps this is because I cringe, as a Jew, at observing what was first a pagan and later a Christian holiday; Valentine’s Day originated from a pagan mid-February fertility celebration called Lupercalia and was transformed into St. Valentine’s Day by Pope Gelasius. Perhaps it is because of […]

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Matanot L’Evyonim – Giving and Receiving on Purim

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Co-Director of the Beit Midrash, Rabbinical School
February 18, 2015

Adar is here! Purim, with all its joy and merriment, is on its way.   As someone who was passed over when the gene that appreciates alcoholic beverages was dispensed, I find Purim, and the way it is widely celebrated, perplexing. Looking for the Divine in Purim can be difficult. We have a meal with no […]

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