Seventy Faces of Torah Nehemia Sq

Seeking God’s Presence in the Sukkah (Shabbat Chol ha-Mo’ed Sukkot, Exodus 33:12-34:26)

Our Torah reading this week, for the Shabbat during Sukkot, is surely one of the most gripping stories in scripture, but at first glance it appears to have little connection with the holiday of Sukkot. The Torah passage narrates the aftermath of the Golden Calf episode, when Moses saw firsthand the apostasy of the Israelites just forty days after the Sinai revelation with its clear command not to make and… Read Article →

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

This Side of the Promised Land (Parshat Ha’azinu, Deuteronomy 32:1-54)

I had the great pleasure a few weeks ago of moderating an event at Hebrew College at which two psychotherapists and two rabbis reflected on their work with dying patients. Among the many profound insights that came out of this evening, I was particularly struck by something reported by Rabbi Joel Baron of Hebrew Senior Life, who noted how often he worked with patients who felt deeply ready to die…. Read Article →

Rabbinical School Divrei Torah Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

Listening to the Call of the Shofar

Although it’s not Yom Kippur yet, I might as well begin with a confession. My natural tendency during this season of teshuvah, is to swing rather dramatically between the poles of self-judgment and compassion. I zealously take on the role of prosecuting attorney – enumerating my failings, flushing as I recall moments of regret and shame. (Okay, “moments” may be a bit of an understatement.) After I’ve had about as… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

Creating Worlds with Our Words: Shabbat Shuva/Parshat Vayelech (Deteronomy 31:1-31:30)

“Every day, consciously and unconsciously, human beings scatter heaps of words to the wind . . .” — Haim Nachman Bialik We live in a world in which we are constantly pummeled with words — words of pundits and preachers, politicians and salespeople, promoters and self-promoters of every persuasion. It feels increasingly difficult to sift through all this verbiage for words that matter. It feels increasingly difficult to discern the… Read Article →

Community Blog Linna Ettinger

Shattered Myths at the National IAC Conference

This article is dedicated to the memory of Shimon Peres, an inspirational leader whose leadership, thought and spirit continue to bring out our creative potential. The mythical walls dividing the Israeli-American community from the American Jewish community were completely shattered this past weekend as more than 2,100 conference attendees convened at the 3rd Annual Israeli-American Council National Conference in Washington DC. Israeli-American and American Jewish activists, program directors, philanthropists, educators,… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Lehmann

The Reciprocity of Repentance

Parshat Nitzavim, Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20 This week’s Torah portion, Parshat Nitzavim, focuses our attention on the religious imperative of repentance, and is always read on the Shabbat before Rosh Hashanah in anticipation of and preparation for the Days of Awe. One verse in particular points to a counterintuitive idea about the process of teshuvah (return and repentance) that is worth unpacking. The latter part of Deuteronomy 30:9 states that “For the… Read Article →

Rabbinical School Divrei Torah Rabbi Ebn Leader

Celebrating Creation: The 25th of Elul and Rosh Hashanah

Rabbi Eliezer taught: the world was created on the twenty-fifth of Elul… This implies that Adam was created on Rosh Hashanah. In the first hour [of that day] the idea arose [in the Divine mind to create humankind]… in the ninth [hour Adam and Eve were] commanded [not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge], in the tenth [hour they] transgressed the commandment, in the eleventh [hour they were] judged,… Read Article →

Community Blog Adult_Learning_Principles_Wordle

The 11 Qualities Needed to Teach PTJL

Much is made of the difficulty of raising tweens and teenagers in our chaotic and confusing world. Tweens and teens have significant developmental transitions to make and they are being asked to grow up faster than ever. When one looks for guidance in how to raise tweens and teens thoughtfully and realistically as Jews in our pluralistic society, there are not that many places to look. The opportunity to address… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah rachel-adelman-100x100

“My Father Was a Wandering Aramean…”: The Ethical Legacy of Our Origins in Exile

(Parashat Ki Tavo, Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8) Through two thousand years of diaspora, the Jewish people have preserved a relationship to God and our tradition, keeping alive the promise of return to our homeland. At the center of that promise of return, paradoxically, is a consciousness of the gift of the land, God’s land—neither “your land” nor “my land”. This concept forms the centerpiece of this week’s Torah portion, which begins with… Read Article →

Parenting Through a Jewish Lens emily mathis with daughter final

Counting down… and making way for enlivening

Even if you pay only scant attention, it’s hard to avoid the countdown to Election Day.  We may be reminded to register to vote, make contributions, and perhaps to help get out the vote.  At the same time, there is another countdown, once the Hebrew month of Elul begins (this year, it started on September 4th). We may be reminded by the call of the shofar or simply the date… Read Article →