Tag Archives: speaking torah

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

Open your eyes and look for each other.

As I write this week, my heart is trembling with love, fear, and a fierce sense of protectiveness for the transgender people in my life – friends, teachers, colleagues, students, children of friends. I tremble for them because of the latest attempt to erase their experience by taking away the language that might help us begin to see them and understand their lives. I tremble for all of us, because… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

The Call of the Shofar

Amidst all the noise of the world in which we live, we prepare ourselves to hear the call of the shofar, the call of the ram’s horn, on Rosh Hashanah morning. I want to return for a moment to the ram’s appearance in the Torah reading for the second day of Rosh Hashanah. Vayisa Avraham et eynav vayar v’hinei ayil achar ne’echaz bas’vach b’karnav. “Abraham looked up, and his eye fell… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

“In the deserts of the heart, let the healing fountain start.”

Toward the end of this week’s parasha, the Israelites come to a place called Be’er (meaning “well” in Hebrew). There, in the middle of the desert, they discover a well, an unexpected source of water. An unexpected source of hope, sustenance, and healing. The moment awakens a song, “Then Israel sang this song: “Spring up, O well, sing to it!” [Numbers 21:17] The Hasidic master, the Sefat Emet, sees in the… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

Ordination 5778

We are overjoyed and filled with nachat—with deep satisfaction and pride—as we look toward the graduation and ordination of our students this Sunday, June 3, at Hebrew College. As our graduates stand on the threshold of becoming rabbis and cantors, teachers and mentors—spiritual, educational, and communal leaders serving the Jewish people and the world—they do so in the light of the menorah that shines from this week’s Torah portion, B’ha’alotecha. The menorah—or… 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 →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

Speaking Torah: Hesed is at the heart of our work as educators, cantors, and as rabbis

This week, I had the privilege of attending the Jewish Education Innovation Challenge (JEIC) 2018 Retreat –a wonderful gathering of educators, investors, and leaders in the world of Jewish day school education. Over the course of the retreat, we were asked to think deeply about the purpose of day school education. We were asked to reflect on our own values, and how we would bring those values to life in a… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

Speaking Torah: We who are the gardeners are also the garden

This season of the Omer, when we literally count the days from Passover to Shavuot, is all about getting from here to there. Rooted in the agricultural rhythms of ancient Israel, it’s a time of both anxiety and anticipation, as farmers waited to see what the season’s first wheat harvest would yield. In our mythic history, it’s about getting from Egypt to Sinai, from the world of Pharaoh to the… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

Speaking Torah: Our Children Are Leading the Way

Last Shabbat, in cities across the United States, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people gathered to march against gun violence. The demonstrations were galvanized by the extraordinary leadership of the high school students in Parkland, Florida, who have responded to their own personal tragedy by taking action with a sense of clarity and courage that has sort of taken our collective breath away. The protests were diverse—parents and grandparents,… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

Speaking Torah: “Betzalel came and healed the wound.”

Last week’s parsha, Ki Tisa, recounts what is quite possibly the lowest moment in the relationship between God and the people of Israel in the entire Torah. Last week, when Moshe and God became aware of the chasm between what was happening on top of the mountain and what was happening down below, it was devastating. Whatever made the people build that golden calf—whether it was lack of imagination, or… Read Article →

Community Blog Rabbi-Sharon-Cohen-Anisfeld

Speaking Torah: Mi Yodea. Who knows?

I have come to believe that the most important verse in the entire megillah—the verse that represents the pivotal turning point in the Purim story – comes near the end of chapter four, when Mordechai sends a message to Esther, urging her to reveal her identity to King Achashverosh and plead on behalf of the Jewish people.  Remarkably, Mordechai’s message to Esther hinges on two simple words – two words… Read Article →