Religion and the Enemy

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B’Shalach, Exodus 13:17-17:16
January 29, 2015

Common wisdom has it that much violence in the world is driven by religious passion. Though there is good reason for this claim, deeper reflection reveals a more complex picture of what religions have to say about relationships with the enemy. This week’s Torah portion brings us one of Judaism’s core texts on the paradigmatic […]

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Power, Oppression and the Hardened Heart

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Bo, Exodus 10:1-13:16
January 21, 2015

This week’s Torah portion begins with God instructing Moses: “Come to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart” (Exodus 10:1). The hardening of Pharaoh’s heart is one of the most confusing aspects of the Exodus story, but has perhaps the most to teach us about freedom and oppression in our world today. Before Moses ever […]

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In the Name of God: The Possibility of Passion and Tolerance

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Vaera, Exodus 6:2-9:35
January 13, 2015

And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, as God Almighty (El Shaddai), but by My name LORD (YHVH) I was not known to them. — Exodus 6:2-3 . . . “My name is Alice, but — ” “It’s a stupid name enough!” […]

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These Are My Names

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Name Tag

Shemot, Exodus 1:1-6:1
January 7, 2015

When my husband and I made aliyah last August, I was looking forward to bringing my name with me to Israel. I felt confident that my name would feel at home here immediately, even if I did not. While “Minna” is not a common name in Israel, it’s easily understood and certainly not the oddity […]

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Other Stories, Others’ Stories (Parshat Vayechi, Genesis 47:28–50:26)

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January 2, 2015

Last November, I attended the inaugural conference of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom. Afterward, I posted on my Facebook page a picture of 100 Jewish and Muslim women — old and young; bareheaded, hijabi and a few in yarmulkes. One of my Jewish friends commented on the posting, “Did you discuss how Islamic women can win basic […]

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The Plague of Survivalism (Parshat Vayigash, Genesis 44:18–47:27)

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Director of Development, Center for Interfaith Engagement
December 22, 2014

The Jewish people have a knack for surviving, even in the face of great odds. Sometimes, however, it seems as if that is our only goal. In the Torah portion for this week (Vayigash), Joseph, having grown in power and influence in Egypt after his brothers left him for dead in the desert many years […]

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Do Not Turn Away From the Light: Joseph, Hanukkah and Racial Justice

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Rally Jews Say Black Lives Matter

Student, Rabbinical School of Hebrew College
December 22, 2014

At its most basic level, Hanukkah is a holiday about bringing light into the darkness. It’s winter. It’s cold, and the night comes early. This is the time of year when we need light more than ever. One function of light is that it reveals to us that which we could not previously see. Light […]

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A Hanukkah “Raga”: An Ecological Reflection

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Student, Rabbinical School of Hebrew College
December 19, 2014

One of the first teachings that drew me to Hindustani (North Indian) classical music was that of the raga. Each raga – literally color or melody – is associated with a unique time of day. On the tree of Indian classical music, each raga is a different branch; in the cycle of a day or […]

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Choosing to Light

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Menorah

Director of Admissions and Student Life, Rabbinical School
December 17, 2014

What’s the big deal with the miracle of Hanukkah? A little oil lasted longer than it should have. And to what end? What really was at stake? Had the oil only lasted a day or had the Maccabees not lit the menorah at all, the only consequence would have been waiting a few more days […]

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To Give

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Tzedakah Box

Senior Development Officer
December 15, 2014

Recently, as we prepared for our end of year appeal, a colleague asked if it was appropriate to solicit donations from those who receive tuition assistance. It is a frequent question, asked with consideration for those in need. My answer is always the same: in both Jewish tradition and fundraising best practice, it is not […]

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