Leprosy’s Haunting Relevance

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Tazria-Metzora

Tazria-Metzora, Leviticus 12:1-15:33
April 22, 2015

This week’s double Torah portion, Tazria-Metzora, contains a lengthy disquisition on how the priests in the times of the ancient Temple were to deal with people presenting a large range of luridly coloured spots and sores associated with tzara’at (usually translated as leprosy); understandably, it has a reputation as the portion about which rabbis least […]

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Joining the Jewish Community in Boston

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Gary+Becca-Volpaia1

April 22, 2015

We stumbled upon Parenting Through a Jewish Lens completely by accident. I was discussing ideas for charitable giving with someone at Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), and at the end of the conversation the person suggested this program would be a good fit for us. He was definitely right. I grew up in the atheist Soviet […]

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A Memory of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, z”l

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Aaron Lichtenstein

President, Hebrew College
April 20, 2015

I have a very poignant memory of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, a great rabbinic leader of modern Orthodoxy, who passed away today in Israel. I had the privilege of studying with Rav Lichtenstein for a brief period in Jerusalem as part of my rabbinical school studies, but my favorite memory of him came from an occurrence […]

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Revisiting the Holy and the Ordinary

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shemini

Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47
April 15, 2015

This week’s Torah portion includes, in the words of anthropologist Mary Douglas, a “hoary old puzzle from biblical scholarship.” As Douglas put it, “Why should some locusts, but not all, be unclean? Why should the frog be clean and the mouse and the hippopotamus unclean? What have chameleons, moles and crocodiles got in common that […]

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Getting Unstuck

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Break-Chains

Instructor, Parenting Through a Jewish Lens
April 8, 2015

For the second Shabbat of Passover. There have been many times in my life when I just felt stuck. Stuck in a job, stuck in my family’s circumstances, stuck in a particular emotional state. It just didn’t seem like anything was ever going to change. We all feel that way at some point or other […]

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Behold, the Table is Set

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on2045_03

March 31, 2015

The publication of the Venice Haggadah of 1609 was a grand event. One of the first-ever printed books to accompany the Passover seder, it boasted intricate woodcuts framing every page, illustrating the story of the Exodus as well as the domestic scenes of men and women, preparing for Passover (mostly women) and celebrating it (mostly […]

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The Time of Our Freedom: A Text Study for Pesach

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passover-usa

Faculty, Rabbinical School
March 30, 2015

Celebrating freedom is often a challenge. For much of Jewish history, Jews celebrating Pesach had to respond to the challenge of celebrating freedom while living as an oppressed minority. As a result, our tradition is full of teachings and stories about celebrating Pesach and connecting to the essence of freedom even in the most oppressive […]

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How Hebrew College Helped Me Advance in My Career

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Building Image 9

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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3189

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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mayim hayim

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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