Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman

The Comfort of Our Own Significance

(Parashat Va’Etchanan, Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11) Every week, we invite our ancient prophets to address us through the haftarah (the prophetic reading follows the Torah reading), bringing their vision, their encouragement, and, especially in the previous three weeks leading up to Tisha b’Av, their excoriation. It can be hard to hear the criticism of contemporary prophets; sometimes the ancient words echoing across the millennia can better draw us into the self-examination we… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Elisha Herb

Tisha b’Av: Shabbat’s Unwanted Guest (Parshat Devarim, Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22)

One of the most beloved and influential teachers and mentors in my life was Dr. Vincent Harding, of blessed memory. A black Mennonite and champion of nonviolent resistance, he once chastised those Jews who enjoy the privileges of passing as white Americans. For Jewish involvement in the civil rights movement, which included the martyrdom of Jewish activists, he thanked and praised us. And, yet, he pointed out, we often “hide… Read Article →

Community Blog Daniel-Lehmann

Remembrance and Hope: Reflections on a Rabbinic Trip to Germany (part 2)

As we stood together admiring the beautiful, new synagogue that stands right in the center of Munich, I shared with our group brief biographies of two towering figures in Munich history, two Jews who lived and died in Munich before the war. Hermann Levy was a world-renowned orchestral conductor in Munich during the late 19th century and ironically conducted the first performance of Wagner’s last and most religious opera, Parsifal…. Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah minna-bromberg-100px

“Where We Stopped Along the Way” (Parshat Matot/Masei, Numbers 30:2-36:13)

The John Jermain Memorial Library in Sag Harbor, NY was a refuge for me and for my mother before me―a refuge from this world as it is, and at the same time a portal to worlds beyond our own. My mother remembers that the librarian would give her a box of cards to bring up to the top floor and look at through the stereoscope. I remember the heavy wooden… Read Article →

Rabbinical School Divrei Torah Hebrew College Tablet Logo

Environmental Reflections Relating to the Destruction of the Temple

What has our religious life lost with the destruction of the Temple? Most of the people that I speak to in our liberal communities seem to feel that we have not lost much. Overall we seem to have accepted the position of the 19th century reformers that saw the temple as an expression of primitive religiosity that we had no reason to long for having gone through the enlightenment. There is… Read Article →

Community Blog Daniel-Lehmann

Remembrance and Hope: Reflections on a Rabbinic Trip to Germany

Last week’s horrible attacks in Germany hit me harder than usual since I just recently returned from a one-week trip to Germany with a group of Boston area rabbis. The trip, entitled Remembrance and Hope, was sponsored by the German Consulate in Boston and was the first trip planned by the Consulate specifically to bring a cohort of rabbis to meet with leaders of Jewish community organizations, government offices, and… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Michael Shire

On the Impact of What We Say, and How We See (Parashat Balak, Numbers 22:2-25:9)

It was only a few months ago that we saw graphic and horrific images of refugee children dying on European beaches, while Donald Trump called for a ban on Muslim immigration and the building of a Great Wall dividing the United States from undesirable Mexican immigrants. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom (maybe less ”united” these days), the Brexit campaigners, after whipping up a storm of intemperate falsehoods about the impact… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Michael-Rosenberg

When Mourning Is Not Yet Done (Parshat Hukkat, Numbers 19:1-22:1)

Shabbat can function as a break from the unbearably real. We spend our week not only consumed by our personal struggles, large and small, but also tuned to the news, sometimes stunned by, sometimes merely inured to, the near-constant reminders of how broken is the world in which we dwell. Then come the 25 hours of respite that Shabbat provides. For those, me included, who have the practice of disconnecting… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Avi Strausberg

“The Girl Who Said No”

Parshat Korach, Numbers 16:1-18:32 I run from confrontation.  The very thought of disagreeing with someone makes me breathless.  Yet, as a rabbi, I have to accept that people will not always agree with me. Several months ago, I gave a sermon on a topic that I anticipated might be controversial.  I went back and forth, debating whether or not I should talk about it, but decided that if I didn’t… Read Article →