Tag Archives: Torah

Seventy Faces of Torah rachel-adelman-100x100

“Not by Bread Alone” (Parashat Ekev, Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25)

A friend recently asked me the most basic (and profound) of questions: Why be religious? Like me, he was raised a secular humanist, in a highly cultured, assimilated academic family. While I became religiously observant and have dedicated my life to Torah learning and the Jewish people, including raising my children in Israel, he has remained largely a secular humanist, active in the Unitarian Church in Canada. Nevertheless, we have… 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 →

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 →

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 →

Seventy Faces of Torah Michael-Rosenberg

When Mourning Is Not Yet Done (Parshat Hukkat, Numbers 19:1-22:1)

Shabbat can function as a break from the unbearably real. We spend our week not only consumed by our personal struggles, large and small, but also tuned to the news, sometimes stunned by, sometimes merely inured to, the near-constant reminders of how broken is the world in which we dwell. Then come the 25 hours of respite that Shabbat provides. For those, me included, who have the practice of disconnecting… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Avi Strausberg

“The Girl Who Said No”

Parshat Korach, Numbers 16:1-18:32 I run from confrontation.  The very thought of disagreeing with someone makes me breathless.  Yet, as a rabbi, I have to accept that people will not always agree with me. Several months ago, I gave a sermon on a topic that I anticipated might be controversial.  I went back and forth, debating whether or not I should talk about it, but decided that if I didn’t… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah RabbiBeckySilverstein-100px

The Unattainable Destination Shapes Our Journey

Parshat Shelach Lecha, Numbers 13:1-15:41 I once owned a refrigerator magnet that read, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey to get there.”   Each time I went to the refrigerator, whether I was reaching for a snack, meal ingredients, or something else, I considered its truth. Surely the idea of living and learning in each moment of the day is something I preach and teach, but doesn’t… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah shoshana-friedman

All Who “Wander” Are Not Lost

Parshat B’ha’alotcha, Numbers 8:1-12:16 Like many of us, I found out about the Orlando massacre on Shavuot. It was a terrifying and terrible moment. Once again, our nation was plunged into mourning over deaths that shouldn’t have happened, at the hands of hatred that shouldn’t exist and automatic weapons that shouldn’t be available. At the same time, the Jewish community was celebrating one of our most joyful holidays, the festival… Read Article →