September 20, 2023

By Heather Renetzky Parashat Ha’azinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-52) In his final reminder to the Israelites about their covenant with God, Moshe, embodying the voice of God, says the following: See, then, that I, I am the One; There is no god beside Me. I deal death and give life; I wounded and I will heal: None can deliver from My hand. How does Moshe have so much trust, confidence, and acceptance of God that he can face the people and affirm God’s... Read more

September 12, 2023

By Rabbi Justin David The other day, I had the pleasure of a conversation with our teacher, Dr. Nehemia Polen. He knows how much I love hasidic texts (as I do all the learning at Hebrew College), so he stopped by my office to share a rich and beautiful teaching we would enjoy exploring together. It was a teaching on Rosh Hashana by Kalonymus Kalman Epstein, the great hasidic teacher and author of the classic Ma’or va-Shemesh, published in Krakow... Read more

September 5, 2023

By Rav Rachel Adelman Parashat Nitzavim-VaYelekh (Deuteronomy 29:9–31:30) My father, Howard Adelman (z”l), passed away on July 23rd and was buried on Tisha be’Av. Though he was eighty five, and had lived a full, vigorous life, his death still came as a terrible shock to me for I thought he was immortal. He had survived so many near-misses in his life—from an attack of pericarditis when I first moved to Israel in the mid-‘80s, to a full cardiac arrest in March 2020... Read more

August 29, 2023

By Naomi Gurt Lind Parashat Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8) By the time we chant Parashat Ki Tavo in synagogue this Shabbat—with its ritual enumeration of blessings and curses, and its passage of rebuke so excruciating we traditionally read it in a voice barely above a murmur—my elder son, blessing of my heart, should be safely back at college for another year. As I write this now, he is still in my home for just another few days, already dreaming of rejoining his friends... Read more

August 22, 2023

By Jessica Spencer Parashat Ki Teitzei (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19) How long does it take to belong somewhere? How many generations pass before the actions of your ancestors no longer matter? Ki Teitzei discusses who is allowed to marry into the Jewish people: לֹא־תְתַעֵב אֲדֹמִי כִּי אָחִיךָ הוּא לֹא־תְתַעֵב מִצְרִי כִּי־גֵר הָיִיתָ בְאַרְצוֹ: בָּנִים אֲשֶׁר־יִוָּלְדוּ לָהֶם דּוֹר שְׁלִישִׁי יָבֹא לָהֶם בִּקְהַל יְהֹוָה׃ Do not hate an Edomite, for he is your brother. Do not hate an Egyptian, for you were a stranger in... Read more

August 14, 2023

By Rabbi Frankie Sandmel  Parashat Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9) שֹׁפְטִים וְשֹׁטְרִים תִּתֶּן־לְךָ בְּכׇל־שְׁעָרֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ לִשְׁבָטֶיךָ וְשָׁפְטוּ אֶת־הָעָם מִשְׁפַּט־צֶדֶק׃ You shall appoint judges and officials for your tribes, in all the settlements that the LORD your God is giving you, and they shall govern the people with due justice (Deut. 16:18). These opening lines to our parashah feel like an all too easy opportunity to wax poetic about the failings of our current judicial system, both in the US and in Israel.... Read more

August 8, 2023

By Rabbi Becky Silverstein  Parashat Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17) Figuring out how to be an adult who is also my parent’s child is one of the most challenging aspects of this season of my life. I find myself at once holding the vision of children as being young people, playing with bubbles or playing in a playground, while also acknowledging the journeys of self-actualization, boundary-setting, and intimacy that come with being someone’s child. Given this current reality, it is unsurprising that I... Read more

August 1, 2023

By Naomi Gurt Lind Parashat Eikev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25) I suppose it was bound to happen. More than three years into the pandemic, I tested positive for Covid-19 for the first time last Friday. I feel ok, a little droopy, a sicker version of myself. Having little energy, I am finding myself looking out the window a lot. It’s a good pastime when you can’t muster the zest for much else. I’m incredibly fortunate: what I see out my window is gorgeous.... Read more

July 26, 2023

By Rabbi Justin David As we greet Tisha B’Av tonight, I am preoccupied by questions underlying all the conversations I’ve had around Israel in recent days: will the current government gut Israel’s commitment to prophetic and humanistic justice as enshrined in the Megilat ha-Atzma’ut (Scroll of Independence)? Can we dare to hope that Israel’s democratic protest movement can work? And do we have any other choice? This year, I am choosing to see Tisha B’Av as a day of Jewish... Read more

July 25, 2023

Parashat Vaetchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11) I have a tendency to think of all the worst case scenarios that might come up in any given situation. Going beyond protectiveness and anxiety, my precautions tend to veer onto the side of severe. Once a troubling thought grips me, I find it difficult to be rid of its grasp—even for a moment. Once, while listening to me express my fears over a given situation, a friend responded with the simple words: “But what if everything... Read more

Browse Our Archives