Tag Archives: social justice-rav

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Klein

The Human Soul is a Candle of God: Finding Meaning in Existence

Parashat Emor, Leviticus 21:1-24:23 (Also read this blog on The Huffington Post) My wife’s grandmother is 94 years old. She lives alone in the same house she has lived in for decades. She is remarkably healthy, but is at an age when many people would have already moved into a retirement community or an assisted living facility. But she has no interest in moving. As we age, leaving our homes… 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-Klein

Singing in the Dark: Leviticus and the Call for Social Justice

“There’s a part of the singer going way back in American history that is of course the canary in the coalmine. When it gets dark, you’re supposed to be singing. It’s dark right now.” Bruce Springsteen made this statement in 2007, but it is no less relevant today. Current events have brought to the fore and emphasized a dramatic sense of uncertainty, frustration and longing that exists in our society…. Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah jordan-braunig

Making Space for the Divine—And Each Other

Parshat Terumah, Exodus 25:1 – 27:19 “We have lived in our apartment for 17 years. My parents lived here. Now, my family lives here. Our landlords have given us 90 days to vacate. No conversation. No negotiation. A letter.” This was the testimony of a 30-something man, accompanied by his wife and mother, at a community meeting hosted by City Life/Vida Urbana in Boston. There were many heads nodding in… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Adam Lavitt

Watching, Waiting, Reflecting: Dreaming in Times of Darkness

Parshat Bo, Exodus 10:1-13:16 With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. (Martin Luther King, Jr., “I Have a Dream”) The world seems like a dark place right now. I don’t know if there is any way to effectively battle institutional racism, or the rampant capitalism that is all but destroying the middle class – or how to respond… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Lev

The Shma, Activism, and Maccabiah

Parshat Vayechi, 47:28-50:26 What’s spiritual about going to a protest? I participated in one last month, on a midtown Manhattan street in the early dark of a November evening, wearing my “protest tallit” (the white one I received from Hebrew College at my rabbinic ordination). My companions were farmworkers from Florida’s Coalition of Immokalee Workers  and their multifaith allies, calling on the leadership of the Wendy’s fast-food chain to become the… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah friedman-web-100x100

Family Across the Divide

Parshat Vayigash, Genesis 44:18-47:27 The refugee stood before the government official and pleaded for mercy. His plight was desperate. He came with a large family, seeking asylum from conditions in his home country. Loved ones were still back home, awaiting word. Returning home without help meant death. There is a new term in the international humanitarian scene: climate refugee. As drought, flooding, crop failures and water shortages become more frequent,… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Klein

On Joseph, Shaving, and Being Human

Parashat Miketz, Genesis 41:1-44:14 Current events have conspired to make Paris the moral heart of our world, calling us to reflect on where we are going as a world community. The recent terror attacks in the City of Light have unleashed a staggering level of unfounded fear and demonization of Muslims and Syrian refugees, which has distorted, as it did after the attacks of 9/11, a legitimate conversation about liberty… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Or Rose

Prayer and Meditation in the Aftermath of the Paris Attacks

Last weekend, I served as a teacher at an interreligious peace conference in North Carolina, at a beautiful retreat center at the edge of the Great Smokey Mountains. As we wound down programming on Friday night, word spread throughout the assembled group about the terrorist attacks in Paris. The juxtaposition of our retreat theme and bucolic setting with the violence on the blood-soaked streets of the French capital weighed heavily on… Read Article →