October 16, 2019

By Deborah Skolnick Einhorn  Sukkot As a shul-goer and parent (and as a grocery shopper), I spend a lot of the fall wondering why the hagim come so fast and furious. They are relentless, with days off of school and work, seemingly limitless preparation and/or travel, and practically daily trips to the store. The quickest, most whiplash-inducing turnaround, of course, comes between Yom Kippur and Sukkot, with only four days intervening. More dramatic even than the lack of time between is the intense physical… Read more

October 7, 2019

Parshat Ha’azinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-1:52) We had a land and a book. Our land is in the book. He said: You will lose your hands. I said: What use are my hands now? He said: You will lose your lips. I said: What use are my lips now? He said: Your eyes will be dry lakes. I said: I know the book by heart.1   These words are written by Egyptian Jewish poet Edmond Jabés. Involuntarily relocated to France in 1956,… Read more

October 2, 2019

Parashat Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1-30) In my work as a geriatric chaplain in a Jewish setting, I have found that the story of Moses’s death — and God’s decision to deny him the satisfaction of entering the Promised Land — often resonates with people who are themselves struggling with the reality of their own mortality. One man in particular, a regular attendee of religious services who died recently, would begin raising questions about God’s justice whenever the topic of Moses’s death… Read more

September 25, 2019

On Father’s Day 2015, I traveled with my children to New Haven, Connecticut to celebrate with my father-in-law. On our way home to Boston, we stopped in Hartford because my teacher, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (of blessed memory) had fallen gravely ill while teaching at a nearby retreat center. Knowing that my kids might not have many more opportunities to engage with Reb Zalman (as he is affectionately known), I asked them to think in advance about a question they might… Read more

September 18, 2019

By Frankie Sandmel Parashat Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8) My fourth grade teacher was a Holocaust survivor. I don’t remember much about her beyond how kindly she welcomed me as a new kid into the school and that we built dioramas of Janush Korczak’s story out of model magic. Janush Korzak ran an orphanage for Jewish children in Poland in the 1930s and, when the Nazis came to bring the children to the concentration camps, he went with them to support… Read more

September 12, 2019

(Deuteronomy 21.10-25.19) By Rabbi Nehemia Polen Toward the end of this week’s parsha, the Torah tells us that you should not have in your pouch diverse weights: a great and a small. You should not have in your house diverse measures of volume: a great and a small. You should have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and a just measure of volume, in order that your days be lengthened on the ground that the Lord your God gives… Read more

September 12, 2019

(Parashat Shoftim, Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9) By Rabbi Jessica Kate Meyer Three years ago, I returned from 2 years in Jerusalem, and stayed with my parents in DC, while preparing to lead High Holiday services at 6th & I. I think it was after I stepped off the plane, but before I placed my suitcase on the floor of my parents’ home, my mom handed me an ultimatum: you. You know the boxes in the attic. The ones where chaos lurks beneath… Read more

August 26, 2019

By Rabbi Minna Bromberg Parshat Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26 – 16:17) There is a wildlife refuge near my parents’ home on Long Island that has a population of chickadees that are not so wild anymore. That is, they are tame enough that if you fill your hand with birdseed and stand very still they will flit over and pick the food (sunflower seeds are favored) right out of your palm. Once when we were children, a number of decades ago, we… Read more

August 19, 2019

By Rabbi Ebn Leader Parashat Ekev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25) In this week’s parsha Moshe recounts the story of the ten commandments. But he does not tell only of God’s dramatic revelation on Mt. Sinai accompanied by lightning and thunder, and the extravagant betrayal which followed, dancing around the Golden Calf. He also tells of the slow process of re-establishing the relationship between God and the people following the betrayal, and of the humble and much quieter offering of the same commandments… Read more

August 12, 2019

By Rabbi Becky SIlverstein Parashat Va-etchanen (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11) “There’s an active mass shooting, we are fine.” My friend Jordyn and her spouse, Justin, live in El Paso. This text began a series of images from El Paso. Jordyn and Justin are photo-journalists, and so our text thread is often filled with images of detention camps on our border, of artwork made by children in Tornillo, of families waiting in Ciudad Juarez, of clergy demonstrating, and so on. These images are… Read more

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