Category Archives: Seventy Faces of Torah

Seventy Faces of Torah Cantor Ken Richmond

Lighting Up the Darkness One Good Point at a Time

Parshat Vayeishev (Genesis 37:1-40:23) As someone who, by nature of my profession, has the privilege of leading my congregation in prayer on a regular basis, I have long taken inspiration and instruction from a quote from the Hasidic master Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810), who said in his teaching “Azamra”: …The one who can create these melodies by finding the good points in every Jew… is fit to be the prayer leader. The… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Jordan Braunig

When the Holy One is a No-Show

Parshat Vayetze (Genesis 28:10-32:3) By Rabbi Jordan Braunig, Rab`14 Perhaps the most memorable words from this week’s parasha, Parashat Vayetze, are the oft-quoted words of Jacob, who having awoken from a holy vision of a ladder connecting the heavens and earth says: אכן יש ה במקום הזה ואנוכי לא ידעת Surely Adonai was in this place, and I…I didn’t know it. The line is in some ways the quintessential expression… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah RabbiBeckySilverstein-100px

Bringing the Personal into the World

Parashat Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:9) When people hear that I am a twin, they tend to immediately ask,  “are you identical or fraternal?”  Upon seeing us, it is clear that we are fraternal. The next question people ask is “who is older?”  And sometimes they will follow up with, “which one is the good twin?” The answers to these questions are linked—I am older because my sister is the bad twin…. Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Lehmann

To be a Stranger and Resident

Parashat Chayei Sarah (23:1-25:18) Toward the beginning of this week’s Torah portion, Chayei Sarah, Abraham describes himself to those with whom he lives with the phrase, “ger v’toshav anochi imachem, I am a stranger and a resident among you” (Gen. 23:4). Various Jewish commentators have interpreted this self-description as much more than just a statement about Abraham’s relationship to his immediate neighbors in the context of purchasing a burial plot… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Shira Shazeer

Crisis Parenting: Walking Together Through Bitter and Sweet

Parshat Vayera (Genesis 18:1-22:24) Last week, my four-year-old announced gleefully, “It’s almost Kislev!” He is joyfully anticipating the next Jewish month because of my personal custom to declare the holiday-free month of Mar-Cheshvan a family-wide post-holiday sugar detox. My son’s excitement makes perfect sense – except that it is only the second day of Cheshvan. I answer somewhat incredulously, “It’s almost Kislev?” “Yes,” he says, “Only twenty-eight days!” Somehow, what… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Avi Strausberg

Where Is God in the Flood?

Parshat Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32) In the beginning, there was nothing. When God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth being unformed and void. Except, that’s not exactly true. Because there was something. There was darkness, and there was wind, and there was water. A lot of water. God separated water from water, creating an expanse in between and God gathered all the lower waters together, and dry… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah rachel-adelman

What is Written in the Book of Human Begettings?

Parashat Bereishit (Genesis, 1:1-6:8) As the saying goes: “All beginnings are difficult.” We are reading Bereshit, “In the beginning…,” again. It is the start of a New Year and I am filled with the tentative joy and trepidation of Yom Kippur in Jerusalem. Just at the opening of the gates at Kol Nidrei, I stood with my three-month-old granddaughter, Naomi Tzipora, in my arms—my daughter and son-in-law by my side—filled… Read Article →

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

A Pink Sukkah: A Suggestion for New Jewish Ritual

Parshat Sukkot (Leviticus 22:26-23:44) There is a story told of Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev that he was feeling chalisha [weak] before the holiday of Sukkot began. He had worn himself out with the fervency of his Yom Kippur prayers. His students gathered around him and waved an Etrog under his nose and the strong and unique smell of the fruit revived his spirits and he entered the season with the… Read Article →