Tag Archives: Jewish Community

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Shira Shazeer

Blessing, Curse, and the Freedom to Choose

Parshat Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17) I may have been at summer camp the first time I heard the story, attributed to the itinerant Rabbi Haim of Romshishok, of the difference between heaven and hell. Reb Haim, the story goes, had the opportunity to visit the world to come, and was brought first to see hell. There, he observed banquet tables laden with food, surrounded by people clearly suffering from hunger. On… Read Article →

Community Blog Hebrew College Tablet Logo

Prayer for Interfaith Vigil at Tornillo Detention Camp

Hebrew College President Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld spent the day in El Paso and Tornillo calling for an end to the inhumane policy of family separations and detentions and the violations of the basic rights of asylum seekers.  She joined a national delegation of labor, educational, and faith leaders organized by the AFT (American Federation of Teachers).  Rabbi Anisfeld commented, “Amidst the heartbreak , it was truly inspiring to be… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

“In the deserts of the heart, let the healing fountain start.”

Toward the end of this week’s parasha, the Israelites come to a place called Be’er (meaning “well” in Hebrew). There, in the middle of the desert, they discover a well, an unexpected source of water. An unexpected source of hope, sustenance, and healing. The moment awakens a song, “Then Israel sang this song: “Spring up, O well, sing to it!” [Numbers 21:17] The Hasidic master, the Sefat Emet, sees in the… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Or Rose

Look Inward: Learning from Korach’s Downfall

Parshat Korach (Numbers 16:1-18:32) In this week’s Torah portion, Korah (after whom the reading is named) and other prominent members of ancient Israelite society brazenly challenge Moses and Aaron’s leadership, resulting in the dramatic death of the rebels through supernatural means (16:31-35). Over the centuries, biblical interpreters have explored the figure of Korah, a member of the Levite tribe and Moses and Aaron’s cousin. What inspired this man to challenge… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

Speaking Torah: What Does Courage Look Like?

Who is rich? The one who rejoices in his portion. (Pirke Avot) In the midst of these profoundly divisive and divided times, I have noticed a troubling trend among people in my own communities, and, if I’m honest, even within myself. We long to respond with courage to a world that is, in so many ways, ravaged with violence—both the slow violence of poverty and systemic injustice, and the more… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Jordan Braunig

In the Wilderness and the Wilderness Within

Parashat Bamidbar (Numbers 1:1-4:20) Four books into the Torah and here we find ourselves mired in wilderness. This book, Sefer Bamidbar, though commonly known as the Book of Numbers, would more aptly be translated as In the Wilderness. It tells the story of a people stuck; stuck in existential uncertainty, stuck in mundane nametaking, stuck in adolescent rebellion. Stuck…in the wilderness. A generation of Israelites will perish here. Moses will… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah RabbiBeckySilverstein-100px

Torah:  An Inheritance in this World

Parshat Behar-Behukotai (Leviticus 25:1-27:34) At a recent Keshet LGBTQ and Ally Teen Shabbaton, I asked the participants to consider their relationship with Torah and how it functions in their lives.  Students shared their own experiences of encountering Torah, broadly defined, while considering images of Torah as fire, water, wine, honey, oil, and milk.  The group coalesced around a broad understanding of Torah as path creator, and diverged on how much… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Suzanne Offit

Reembracing Sacred Time

Parshat Emor, Leviticus 21-24 Back in the late 1900s, when telephones were still commonly fixed to kitchen walls and telephone books were found in nearby cabinets, there was a memorable commercial on TV. I would see it when I watched a program at a set time every week. The ad was for the Yellow Pages, the business section of the phone book. “If it’s out there, it’s in here!” If… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

Speaking Torah: Hesed is at the heart of our work as educators, cantors, and as rabbis

This week, I had the privilege of attending the Jewish Education Innovation Challenge (JEIC) 2018 Retreat –a wonderful gathering of educators, investors, and leaders in the world of Jewish day school education. Over the course of the retreat, we were asked to think deeply about the purpose of day school education. We were asked to reflect on our own values, and how we would bring those values to life in a… Read Article →

Community Blog Karen Leitner

Parenting Is A Work in Progress

From the time we were married, my husband and I committed to raising a Jewish family. Life intervened however, and in the chaos of having three children and two careers, the implementation of this became a challenge. I fully intended to bring my babies to shul for their naming ceremonies…yet in the blink of an eye I now have 3, 6 and 9 year-old daughters, none of whom received that… Read Article →