You Can’t Go Home Again. Sort of. (Hayyei Sarah, Genesis 23:1-25:18)

By Rabbi Niles Elliot GoldsteinThe Torah portion for this week raises a critically important existential question, a query that writers, psychologists and seekers have asked for many, many years:  Can we ever really go home again?Hayyei Sarah, or The Life of Sarah, encompasses death and birth, ends and beginnings, and continuity. It offers a story about the polarity of mortal existence. It also highlights the cyclical, and sometimes paradoxical, nature of the human journey.The … [Read more...]

Counting Our Numbers, Counting Our Blessings (Lekh Lekha, Genesis 12:1-17:27)

By Dr. Yehuda KurtzerJews tend to be nervous about the numbers of Jews in the world, with a demographic anxiety that has become a major cottage industry. This anxiety is in the air again and back in the news, with the just-released surveys of Jews in America from Brandeis University and the Pew Research Center. But I want to suggest that the roots of this concern are quite old, hinted to as far back as in the promises to Abraham that recur throughout this week’s Torah portion.First, in G … [Read more...]