Tag Archives: Shabbat

Seventy Faces of Torah rachel-adelman-100x100

“My Father Was a Wandering Aramean…”: The Ethical Legacy of Our Origins in Exile

(Parashat Ki Tavo, Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8) Through two thousand years of diaspora, the Jewish people have preserved a relationship to God and our tradition, keeping alive the promise of return to our homeland. At the center of that promise of return, paradoxically, is a consciousness of the gift of the land, God’s land—neither “your land” nor “my land”. This concept forms the centerpiece of this week’s Torah portion, which begins with… 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 →

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Return Again (Parashat Shoftim, Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9)

This past Shabbat we celebrated Rosh Hodesh, the new moon of the month of Elul; sang songs of praise in the psalms of Hallel; and dedicated ourselves to a month of teshuva, of return and repentance, leading up to Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. For 30 days, Jews around the world call ourselves to attention with a shofar blast every morning. According to Maimonides, this blast carries an embedded message: “Awaken you… 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 →

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“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 →

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Heschel’s Vision of the Sabbath: A Contemporary Challenge

In preparing for the launch of Heart-to-Heart, a new program of Hebrew College’s Miller Center for Interreligious Learning and Leadership, I reread many selections from Abraham Joshua Heschel’s classic text, The Sabbath. First published in 1951, this poetic gem has been read by countless spiritual seekers–Jewish and non-Jewish alike–throughout the world. As I flipped through the tattered pages of my copy of the book, I was struck again by Heschel’s remarkable ability… Read Article →

Parenting Through a Jewish Lens Elizabeth Bailey Strzetelski

Chores for Shabbat

This fall, my husband and I participated in Parenting Through a Jewish Lens (PTJL) at BJEP. It has given us the confidence to explore our own personal Jewish identities and create meaningful family traditions. The session “Shabbat: A Time to Reconnect and Recharge” inspired us to do just that. Over the past few months, Shabbat has become a time to unplug from the external world and to focus on the internal… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi-Sabath100x100

Leadership, Precision, and the Power of Ritual

Parashat Tzav: Leviticus 6:1-8:36 For many of us, the complex details of animal sacrifices in the ancient Temple seem far away from anything that we might consider meaningful, much less comprehensible. What relevance is there in the order of burning and eating ancient sacrifices in a Temple that was destroyed two thousand years ago? Large portions of the book of Leviticus force us to ask why we’re still reading and… Read Article →

Rabbinical School Divrei Torah Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

Humility and Hope in an Uncertain World: A Purim Teaching

This morning’s Torah reading begins with a divine call. Vayikra el Moshe vayedaber Adonai elav. Something, someone calls out to Moses, and God speaks to him. Vayikra. There are two things about the opening word of this verse and this sefer (book) that are noteworthy and that have given rise to much commentary. First, we are not initially told the subject of the verb “called”. Vayikra el Moshe. Not God… Read Article →