Tag Archives: Jewish Community

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

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 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 →

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 Daniel-Lehmann

The Sacred Work of Interreligious Learning and Leadership

I was recently elected board chair of the Boston Theological Institute (BTI), a position I am honored to hold. The chair rotates among board members, but my election is significant in terms of the change it represents in the mission and direction of the BTI. BTI provides Hebrew College with the opportunity to learn from and contribute to an inter-religious community of institutions that share a common purpose in training the next generation… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Jonathan Wittenberg

Violence and Vision

Passover: seventh day, Exodus 13:17-15:26; eighth day, Deuteronomy 15:10-16:17 The ancient rabbis chose Isaiah’s vision of peace on earth as the prophetic reading to accompany the Torah reading for the 8th day of Passover, the Festival of Freedom. The wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard lie down with the kid, calf and young lion and fatling together, and a little child shall lead them…(Isaiah 11:6) “Indeed!” observed one of my teachers… 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 Michael-Rosenberg

Judge Garland and Jewish Identity

Yesterday President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to be the next Supreme Court justice. The Hebrew College community blog is not the place for discussing the judicial or political merits or shortcomings of this announcement, but one thing has been filling my Facebook feed that is worth thinking about here: if confirmed, Garland would be the fourth Jewish justice on the Court. To be sure, there is good reason for ethnic… Read Article →