Tag Archives: Jewish Identity

Seventy Faces of Torah RabbiBeckySilverstein-100px

The Unattainable Destination Shapes Our Journey

Parshat Shelach Lecha, Numbers 13:1-15:41 I once owned a refrigerator magnet that read, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey to get there.”   Each time I went to the refrigerator, whether I was reaching for a snack, meal ingredients, or something else, I considered its truth. Surely the idea of living and learning in each moment of the day is something I preach and teach, but doesn’t the… 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 Ariel Evan Mayse

The Forgetful Sands of the Wilderness

Parshat B’midbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20 The biblical book of Numbers continues the story of a people adrift and unmoored, winding their way through the empty wilderness. Much has happened thus far, including times of elation as well as failure; ours has not been a linear journey. God’s self-revelation and the giving of the Torah at Sinai was followed by the sin of the Golden Calf, and then the command to build… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Alicia-Jo-Rabins

Back to the Garden

When I moved from New York City to Portland three years ago, my life changed in many ways. One of the biggest: I began to garden. Gardening may not sound like a big deal. But for me, it’s been life-changing. Not only are the herbs, fruits, vegetables, and flowers I’ve been tending delicious and gorgeous; they’ve also become great teachers of Torah for me. They teach me daily about time,… 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 →

Community Blog Keren McGinity

Interfaith Families Jewish Engagement

Keren McGinity, Ph.D., director of the new  Interfaith Families Jewish Engagement (IFJE) program at Hebrew College’s Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education, weighs in on educating Jewish communal professionals to work with interfaith families. Q. Why is it important to have a program in interfaith family Jewish engagement? It is important because intermarriage is a prevalent reality in American society. Jewish communal professionals need to have the education and skills to serve the… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Lisa Goldstein

Beyond Ghosts and Familiar Spirits: Finding Holiness in the Old and the New

Parshat Kedoshim, Leviticus 19:1-20:27 We are on a multi-layered journey. On the Jewish holiday calendar, after leaving Egypt two weeks ago with all the attendant fear and drama of Passover we are moving steadily toward the holiday of Shavuot–on which we celebrate the revelation of the Torah–and thus toward Mt. Sinai. In the Torah reading cycle, this week’s Torah portion, Kedoshim, gives us a small taste of what we might… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Lev Nelson

The Mothers of the Priests

Parshat Acharei Mot, Leviticus 16:1-18:30 “Elisheva had five reasons to rejoice above the other daughters of Israel: her brother-in-law was king; her husband, High Priest; her sons, deputy [priests], her grandson, a priest-ordained-for-war; and her brother, chieftain of a tribe—and [yet] she had to mourn two sons.” (Talmud, Zevachim 102a) When Nadav and Avihu died on the great day of the inauguration of the mishkan, the tabernacle in the wilderness,… Read Article →

Community Blog daniel-schaefer

Counting the Omer: Cultivating Gratitude & Responsibility

When I first heard about Sefirat Ha’Omer (Counting of the Omer), I was intrigued by the notion that the seven weeks, or 49 days, between the holidays of Pesach and Shavuot could be a time for personal and communal transformation. The more I learned about these holidays, the more sense it made to me to envision this period as a journey. Just as the ancient Israelites traveled from Egypt to… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Arthur Green

Liberation: A Sacred Moment

(Passover; Readings for First Days–Exodus 12:21-51 and Leviticus 22:26-23:44) On the second day of Passover, Jews begin a period called sefirat ha-omer, when we publicly count off each day for the next fifty, concluding with the holiday of Shavuot. (Hence the Greek term Pentecost, for the fiftieth day.) While originally a practice used for calculating the agricultural season, the rabbinic tradition used it to establish a deep connection between these… Read Article →