Category Archives: Seventy Faces of Torah

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Adam Lavitt

Closed Wells, Closed Hearts

Parashat Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:9) A man in an elevator repeatedly presses the close button as a woman outside shares her story of sexual assault. T’ruah recently convened a group of rabbis and cantors in conversation with Ana Maria Archila, one of the women who confronted Senator Jeff Flake in that powerful moment. During our conversation, someone spoke about Dr. Ford’s courage, and the cautious optimism they felt leading up to… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Becky SIlverstein

Lifting our eyes to find each other

Parashat Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18) Mah anachnu, meh chayeinu, meh chasdeinu, mah tzidkateinu, mah yeshuateinu, mah cohenu, mah gevuroteinu… the rhythm of the Hebrew words picks up speed as I move through the morning blessings. What are we?  What is our life? What is our loving-kindness?  What is our righteousness? What is our salvation?  What is our strength? What is our might? The parallelism in the English underscores the urgency of the questions…. Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah michael-shire

The Call to Protest

Parashat Vayera (Genesis 18:1-22:24) The call to protest grows larger each day. From the women’s march in Washington in January 2016 to the climate change rallies around the world, to the #MeToo movement and anti-sexual harassment demonstrations, to vigils protesting the separation of children from their parents in immigration detention. From concern at the rise in antisemitism worldwide, to outrage of the treatment of journalists uncovering truth in the face… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Elizabeth Bonney-Cohen

Sarah’s Silent Cry

Parashat Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1-17:27) He didn’t mean to… He wouldn’t have, if only… There was nothing he could have done to prevent it…It only happened because she was too… With these words, we subtly dismiss the perpetration of violence and subjugation inflicted on those least protected by our social and political systems. They all too easily roll off the tongue when we hear news of some horrific violation. Did… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Arthur Green

Noah: Words above the Waters

Parashat Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32) The story of Noah’s flood remains one of the best-known and most powerful tales of our biblical heritage. Even in our secular age, there is hardly a child who has not heard the story told, seen it recreated in animation, or played with toys based on the animals in Noah’s ark. What is it about this story that seems to have such great enduring power? Is… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Adina Allen

We Are Created Creative

(Parashat Beresheit, Genesis 1:1-6:8) Beresheit Bara Elohim, In the beginning, God created. These are the first three words of the Torah, which we begin reading again this week. We roll all the way back to the beginning of beginnings, to the first event in the Torah: creation. Acting out of some desire or impulse, God dives deep into the tohu v’vohu, the depths of primordial chaos, and creates: separating light… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Brian Besser

You Shall Have Nothing But Joy

Sukkot Yom Kippur is the most ethereal of Jewish holidays. On the holiest day of the year, we symbolically shed the trappings of material existence. To my mind, the reason for fasting is not so much to afflict ourselves but to elevate ourselves above the earthly plane of reality. As much as humanly possible, we abstain from physical needs and urges. We don’t eat; we don’t bathe; we don’t engage… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Michael Rosenberg

Hypocrisy, Boundaries, and the Mitzvah of Part-time Piety

The Days of Repentance Years ago, while walking back to my college dorm room from Kol Nidrei services, I was shocked to hear my roommate—fresh off all of the confessions and regret that are baked into the Yom Kippur liturgy—use a word not fit to print in the virtual pages of Seventy Faces. With all the self-righteousness of a 20-year old, I called him out on it: “It’s Yom Kippur… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Elisha Herb

I was not at Sinai

Parashat Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20) The people stand at Sinai as would-be converts to the Torah covenant, long since created in the mystical realms but yet to be received by the people Israel. The Torah tells us, it is “…not only with you that I make this covenant and this oath, but with [1] those who are standing here with us this day before the LORD our God and [2] those… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah rachel-adelman

“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 →