November 14, 2018

Parashat Va-Yetze (Genesis 28:10-32:3) By Rabbi Jordan Schuster I’ve been thinking about John Keats lately. About how he died at the age of 25. About how so much of his life up to that point was spent contemplating a way out of this world. Beauty, imagination, sleep – these were his exits and escapes. These were the paths he used to transcend reality, to free himself from the cruelty, the violence, the brokenness of this world. He writes in his “Ode… Read more

November 5, 2018

Parashat Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:9) By Rabbi Adam Lavitt A man in an elevator repeatedly presses the close button as a woman outside shares her story of sexual assault. T’ruah recently convened a group of rabbis and cantors in conversation with Ana Maria Archila, one of the women who confronted Senator Jeff Flake in that powerful moment. During our conversation, someone spoke about Dr. Ford’s courage, and the cautious optimism they felt leading up to the hearing. And then the silence… Read more

October 30, 2018

Parashat Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18) Mah anachnu, meh chayeinu, meh chasdeinu, mah tzidkateinu, mah yeshuateinu, mah cohenu, mah gevuroteinu… the rhythm of the Hebrew words picks up speed as I move through the morning blessings. What are we?  What is our life? What is our loving-kindness?  What is our righteousness? What is our salvation?  What is our strength? What is our might? The parallelism in the English underscores the urgency of the questions. Who are we?  What is our purpose… Read more

October 24, 2018

Parashat Vayera (Genesis 18:1-22:24) The call to protest grows larger each day. From the women’s march in Washington in January 2016 to the climate change rallies around the world, to the #MeToo movement and anti-sexual harassment demonstrations, to vigils protesting the separation of children from their parents in immigration detention. From concern at the rise in antisemitism worldwide, to outrage of the treatment of journalists uncovering truth in the face of unbridled power. We are overwhelmed at the work that… Read more

October 17, 2018

Parashat Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1-17:27) By Rabbi Elizabeth Bonney-Cohen He didn’t mean to… He wouldn’t have, if only… There was nothing he could have done to prevent it…It only happened because she was too… With these words, we subtly dismiss the perpetration of violence and subjugation inflicted on those least protected by our social and political systems. They all too easily roll off the tongue when we hear news of some horrific violation. Did you hear that she had been… Read more

October 8, 2018

Parashat Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32) By Avraham Yizhak (Arthur) Green The story of Noah’s flood remains one of the best-known and most powerful tales of our biblical heritage. Even in our secular age, there is hardly a child who has not heard the story told, seen it recreated in animation, or played with toys based on the animals in Noah’s ark. What is it about this story that seems to have such great enduring power? Is it just that it fits… Read more

October 3, 2018

(Parashat Beresheit, Genesis 1:1-6:8) By Rabbi Adina Allen Beresheit Bara Elohim, In the beginning, God created. These are the first three words of the Torah, which we begin reading again this week. We roll all the way back to the beginning of beginnings, to the first event in the Torah: creation. Acting out of some desire or impulse, God dives deep into the tohu v’vohu, the depths of primordial chaos, and creates: separating light and dark, dividing waters, shifting land… Read more

September 26, 2018

Sukkot By Rabbi Brian Besser Yom Kippur is the most ethereal of Jewish holidays. On the holiest day of the year, we symbolically shed the trappings of material existence. To my mind, the reason for fasting is not so much to afflict ourselves but to elevate ourselves above the earthly plane of reality. As much as humanly possible, we abstain from physical needs and urges. We don’t eat; we don’t bathe; we don’t engage in sexual relations; if we could,… Read more

September 17, 2018

Parshat Ha’azinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-52) By Rabbi Avi Strausberg When my wife and I were developing the language of our ketubah, a rabbi offered us an important piece of advice: think seriously about the people who you choose as witnesses for your ketubah. If and when, 5, 10, 20 years down the line, things become difficult in your marriage, should you begin acting toward one another in ways that are hurtful, thoughtless, perhaps even cruel, these are the people that will remind… Read more

September 12, 2018

The Days of Repentance By Rabbi Micha’el Rosenberg Years ago, while walking back to my college dorm room from Kol Nidrei services, I was shocked to hear my roommate—fresh off all of the confessions and regret that are baked into the Yom Kippur liturgy—use a word not fit to print in the virtual pages of Seventy Faces. With all the self-righteousness of a 20-year old, I called him out on it: “It’s Yom Kippur night! Is this how you want… Read more

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