Tag Archives: Jewish Identity

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Lehmann

The Reciprocity of Repentance

Parshat Nitzavim, Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20 This week’s Torah portion, Parshat Nitzavim, focuses our attention on the religious imperative of repentance, and is always read on the Shabbat before Rosh Hashanah in anticipation of and preparation for the Days of Awe. One verse in particular points to a counterintuitive idea about the process of teshuvah (return and repentance) that is worth unpacking. The latter part of Deuteronomy 30:9 states that “For the… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Adina Allen

Self-Doubt: God’s Presence and The Enemy Within (Parshat Ki Teitzei, 21:10-25:19)

In preparation for the upcoming High Holy Days, during the month of Elul we embark on a process of self-reflection, evaluating the state of our lives and our souls. We recall those times we have missed the mark, and we seek forgiveness for the harm we’ve caused. And we ask what we need to shift in order to be our fullest, most alive selves in the coming year—in the word… 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 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 (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 minna-bromberg-100px

“Where We Stopped Along the Way” (Parshat Matot/Masei, Numbers 30:2-36:13)

The John Jermain Memorial Library in Sag Harbor, NY was a refuge for me and for my mother before me―a refuge from this world as it is, and at the same time a portal to worlds beyond our own. My mother remembers that the librarian would give her a box of cards to bring up to the top floor and look at through the stereoscope. I remember the heavy wooden… 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 →