November 28, 2023

By Rabbi Becky Silverstein Parashat Vayishlach (Genesis 32:4-36:43) Lately, I’ve been thinking about the saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” I find myself wondering: How many baskets should you have? Will you be carrying the eggs or storing them? Are these real eggs and baskets or metaphorical ones? And in any event, what is your goal? When does it make sense to heed this wisdom and separate our eggs, and when might we need to put all... Read more

November 21, 2023

By Chaim Spaulding, Hebrew College Rabbinical Student Parashat Vayetze (Genesis 28:10–32:3) Last winter, I went to my grandfather’s funeral, and afterwards, my living family and I took a trip to Death Valley. Grieving my grandfather, I felt keenly aware of my own mortality and my loved ones’ mortality. The magnificence of Death Valley only exists because of the instability of tectonic plates in motion over the course of millions of years. Standing on the floor of the valley, with rain... Read more

November 16, 2023

Parashat Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:9) By Naomi Gurt Lind Growing up, there was a time when one of my siblings received a gift I really wished had been mine. (It was a snow globe, if you must know.) I very nicely asked if I could have a turn with it and as soon as it was in my hand, I threw it across the room. I only meant to show how upset I was, but of course the laws of physics had... Read more

November 8, 2023

By Rabbi Jim Morgan RS ‘08 Parashat Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18) At Centre Communities of Brookline, an independent housing facility in Massachusetts where I serve as Community Rabbi and Chaplain, I have the privilege of working with a surprising number of very old people. By “very old,” I mean folks in their nineties or older, including one person who recently turned 106. Among the questions that come up in my conversations with these residents is why they are still alive:... Read more

November 1, 2023

By Rabbi Shira Shazeer RS ‘10 Parashat Vayeira (Genesis 18:1-22:24) “I really prefer Semitism,” one of my teens remarked around the Shabbat table this week, on hearing about an educational program for teens about antisemitism. Understandably, in the wake of Hamas’ brutal attack on Israeli citizens, and the callous support for that calculated act of mass terrorism that we’ve seen in various communities and college campuses, Jewish communities are responding with programs to prepare and educate our teens for what... Read more

October 24, 2023

By Rav-Hazzan Ken Richmond Parashat Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1-17:27) Last week, while talking about the news in Israel, my ten-year-old asked me, “Why don’t some people like other people?” I told him about people hating other people because they are different, because they are jealous or scared of them. I talked about competing claims for land or resources. I spoke about the long tradition of scapegoats, of people in power oppressing a populace but channeling their resentment towards Jews or other... Read more

October 16, 2023

By Leah Carnow Parashat Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32) Last year, I interviewed my seven-year-old nephew; we discussed the story of Noah. We spoke about many things—what the story was about, what the characters were thinking, why God made the flood. One of the questions that struck me most was our discussion on a question Torah learners have been asking for generations—why did God choose Noah?​​ In the opening line of Parashat Noach, the Torah teaches that “Noah was a righteous man, upright in... Read more

October 10, 2023

By Rabbi Adina Allen Parashat Bereishit (Genesis 1:1-6:8) “I’ve never felt physically aligned with the conception of linear time” writes author Sophie Strand. “Time…layers, compresses, buckles…The past can change and reflux into the present. The present can settle like dust and pollen on other older sedimented events, forming a physical chronicle.”¹ Emerging from the power and intensity of our high holiday season, we end with a celebration of the cyclical, spiraling nature of time. Just last week, on Simchat Torah, we... Read more

October 2, 2023

By Rabbi Minna Bromberg Shmini Atzeret / Simchat Torah We are coming to the end of the Jewish calendar’s long season of introspection, accountability, celebration, and many many prayers for rain, for renewal, and for redemption. With Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur behind us, and our sukkot perhaps not holding themselves up so well, every lulav is by now, we hope, very thoroughly shaken. Many of us have had lots of time with family, with community, and with our own best and... Read more

September 26, 2023

By Risa Dunbar Exodus 33:12-34:26 I have always felt that celebrating Sukkot in New England means facing the tension between our physical vulnerability, and our tradition’s description of this season as “the time of our joy.” Some years it has been impossible to sing in the Sukkah while drenched and shivering, or to enjoy dinner as shreds of multicolored decorations are whipped into my food by the wind. But Sukkot, at its best, can serve as a time for grappling... Read more

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