Tag Archives: Jewish Values

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 →

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Klein

We Don’t Live by Bread Alone

Parashat Eikev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25) “In L.A., nobody touches you. We’re always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much that we crash into each other just so we can feel something.” (Paul Haggis’ Crash) With these opening lines, the movie Crash captures a truth about the human condition – we need each other. For practical, emotional, spiritual reasons and more, we are meant to be in… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi JIm Morgan

Shabbat and the Persistence of Slavery

Parashat Va’etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:27-7:11) Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.  – James Baldwin Nearly seventy years after its publication, Ralph Ellison’s masterpiece, The Invisible Man, continues to resonate with our nation’s continued experience of race, violence, and blindness. The horrifying scene of white cop murdering an unarmed black man, Brother Tod Clifton, finds echoes in too many American places, as… Read Article →

Humans of Hebrew College Hebrew College Tablet Logo

Cantor, Spiritual Leader, Social Activist

Humans of Hebrew College #HumansHC “It’s my first day ‘on the job’ as Temple Emanu-El’s spiritual leader, and I’m sitting in Boston Logan Airport practicing my leyning for Pinchas and waiting to catch a flight to San Diego for two days of immigration rights advocacy and learning with Mijente and HIAS. I’m so grateful for T’ruah’s organization of this trip (here’s looking at you, Rabbi Salem Pearce, Rab`18) and for the… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Cantor Ken Richmond

Where have you come from and where are you going?

Starting Points & Destinations on our Journeys Parashat Massei (Numbers 33:1-36:13) A middle school history teacher once asked my class why people immigrate; our suggestions all fell under her simple overarching answer, that people immigrate in search of a better life. Almost all Americans, the Jewish community included, are descendants of immigrants; many of us have stories of how our families came to the United States. My Zayda, Sol (Shleime… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Gray Myrseth

Justice in the Wilderness

As a person who grew up in a relatively non-observant Jewish home, with little to no Hebrew, I used to only know the fourth book of the Torah as Numbers. This title calls to mind an orderly census-taking, a linear and rational accounting. And to be sure, there is plenty of counting in the Book of Numbers, but that tidiness is a thin veneer over the turmoil, wandering, crying out,… 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 Daniel-Lehmann

Inward and Outward Facing Holiness

Parshat Acharei Mot and Kedoshim (Leviticus 16:1-18:30 and 19:1-20:27) Just last week marked the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the modern State of Israel, and this week’s two Torah readings are often read around the time of Israel’s Independence Day. I would like to think about these two parshiot as a lens through which to view Israel’s sacred mission. The two parshiot that comprise this week’s Torah reading, Acharei… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Avi Killip

Return and Reintegration: A Rite and a Right

Parshat Metzora (Leviticus 14:1-15:33) We start from the assumption that every leper will eventually return to the community. The “יוֹם טָהֳרָתוֹ-day of cleansing” is a given. This is a radical idea. That the Torah instructs us to exile the leper during his ailment can seem harsh and maybe even cruel, but it reflects reality. There are always people on the margins of a society, who for one reason or another… Read Article →