Tag Archives: Adult Learning

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Woman as God’s Partner in Creation (Parashat B’reishit, Genesis 1:1-6:8)

In my lifetime, the Torah’s story of the beginning of humanity has loomed large. The version we find in Genesis 2-3, the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, has especially been a matter of intense and fruitful controversy in the years in which I’ve studied and taught Torah. For me, it all started with the French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir’s book, The Second Sex, in which… 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 →

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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 →

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On Pluralism

“It’s not a mission that rotates significance or is in competition with other initiatives like youth programs, adult learning, connection to Israel, disability and inclusion, teen engagement, sexual orientation, attracting young adults to Judaism, synagogue membership, and the overall goal, Jewish continuity. Pluralism is all of those things, and all of those things fall under the umbrella of pluralism. Without providing validation and encouragement, and fostering understanding and respect for… Read Article →

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Mindful Parenting

                          “This class has been such a gift for those of us who have been participating. We are 15 moms strong and our focus is on mindful parenting though a Jewish lens. We are forming community and interpersonal connections. We are receiving life-long lessons from our tradition and from one-another to bring to our own homes and families…. 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 →