Tag Archives: Adult Learning

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 →

Seventy Faces of Torah jessica-kate-meyer-100px

Return Again (Parashat Shoftim, Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9)

This past Shabbat we celebrated Rosh Hodesh, the new moon of the month of Elul; sang songs of praise in the psalms of Hallel; and dedicated ourselves to a month of teshuva, of return and repentance, leading up to Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. For 30 days, Jews around the world call ourselves to attention with a shofar blast every morning. According to Maimonides, this blast carries an embedded message: “Awaken you… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Klein

The Idolatry of Nostalgia (Parashat Re’eh, Deuteronomy 11:26 – 16:17)

“I was born near sunset.” Though the writer Michael Chabon made this statement about himself in the introduction to his book Summerland, he claims, rightly in my opinion, that it describes a part of the human condition. We seem to come naturally by the feeling of “belatedness,” as Chabon calls it – the sense of having “shown up just as light and fire were fading from the sky.” This sentiment… 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 jordan-braunig

How Far We Haven’t Come

Parshat Naso, B’midbar 4:21-7:89 There should be a name for the particular sense of pride, the utter self-righteousness, that arises when we modern readers encounter the deeply problematic practices of our Israelite ancestors and proclaim our own cultural advancement. There is truly no better time to assert our moral superiority, to affirm our ethical evolution, than when we confront ancient rituals like that of the ordeal of the bitter waters… Read Article →

Community Blog elisha 2016

Are we Off Topic?

Five sets of parents sat around the stylish South End living room, all very comfortable with one another after two-plus years of learning together. This comfort wasn’t just an extension of the hours they’d sat swapping parenting struggles and tips, or looking at texts to find layers of meaning that could add to their family life. They’d also spent time with one another’s families outside of the monthly meetings, and… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Sue Fendrick

The Bells That Still Can Ring: On Rest and Action

I wonder if there is a song lyric quoted more often in High Holiday sermons than the chorus of Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem”: “Ring the bells that still can ring/Forget your perfect offering/There is a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in.” It’s not hard to see the homiletical appeal of Cohen’s poignant words to congregations of imperfect human beings. Nor is it a stretch to understand why these words… Read Article →

Community Blog stephanie-weller-levine

Asking BIG Questions: An Eser Perspective

When I signed up for Eser, I figured that if I’m going to explore hot-button issues and Jewish texts with a group of fellow participants, I’m going to ask the “ultimate” questions of soul and immortality. This year’s Eser theme is “10 Social Issues You Can’t Ignore,” and includes topics such as: race relations, immigration, climate change, and gun control. My feelings about two of the topics – capital punishment… Read Article →

Community Blog Robin F

Neither Vertical nor Horizontal, But at an Angle

There are certain moments of Jewish parenting that are so well-defined and ritualized that managing our way through them is, if not easy, at least clear. We are shepherded through life cycle moments like brit milahs and b’nai mitzvah with lots of congregational and rabbinic support. The Jewish playbook covers these situations explicitly – and we parents can feel confident in our response. Unfortunately for most of us, those clear-cut… Read Article →