The Sacred Vestments | Parashat Tetzave

Rabbi Paul Golomb | Senior Scholar of  Vassar Temple, Poughkeepsie, NY, USA Make sacral vestments for your brother Aaron…These are the vestments they are to make: a breastplate, an ephod, a robe…On the hem [of the robe], make pomegranates…with bells of gold between them all around. (Ex. 28: 2,4,33) A few months before the celebration […]

Living a Beautiful Life | Parashat Teruma

Rabbi Stacey Blank | Kehilat Shir Chadash, Tzur Hadassah, Israel In Israel, it is common for girls to mark bat mitzvah with a party or other kind of special celebration.  Though it is still unusual, there are more and more young women who mark their twelfth birthday with a ceremony in the synagogue in which […]

Does the World Need More Love or Justice? | Parashat Mishpatim

Rabbi Stephanie M. Alexander | Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, Charleston, USA. We’re often taught that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, beauty is only skin deep, and we should never judge a book by its cover. But what about when there’s a disconnect between what we’re told is on the inside and what we see on the outside — […]

Leadership lessons from Moses | Parashat Yitro

Rabbi Yuval Keren | Southgate Progressive Synagogue, London, UK Whenever we think of a Biblical role model for a leader – we think of Moses, our teacher. Yet even Moses was not entirely flawless, and even Moses sometimes needed help and guidance, and even Moses sometimes failed. When he first received his mission as he […]

Story and the Crafting of Identity | Parashat Beshalach

Rabbi Becky Hoffman | Associate Rabbi and Religious School Director, Kol Tikvah, Woodland Hills, CA We know the end of the story. Despite the size and power of the Egyptian army, the Israelites will become a free people. The victim will become the victor. The weak will defeat the mighty. But there is one odd […]

How is Bo Profoundly Linked to Bereshit?

Rabbi Joseph Edelheit | founding Rabbi of Associação Israelita Norte Paranaense (Beit Tikvá), Maringa, Brazil Whenever the Sidre Bo approaches, I always remember what I learned when I was a first-year rabbinic student, 1968-69, HUC-JIR-LA, studying up-on-the-hill! The course on commentaries was taught by Rabbi Dr. Stephen M. Passamaneck, z”l whose pedagogical presence was transformative. […]

The Power of Names | Parashat Shemot

Rabbi David A. Kunin | Jewish Community of Japan, Tokyo, Japan I have always been fascinated by the power both to give and to know names.  Rumpelstiltskin was, as many may recall, defeated when the princess learned his name, and so too did Odysseus suffer as he hubristically revealed his name to the cyclops.  In […]

The Imperative of Coming Together | Parashat Vayechi

Rabbi Linda Henry Goodman | Rabbi Emerita at Union Temple of Brooklyn, New York, US As an “only child,” I always have been particularly fascinated by the sibling relationships throughout the Book of Genesis.  I don’t know about all other “only children.”  But in my own fantasizing about what it would have been like to […]

Eastside, westside: whose side are you on? | Parashat Vayigash

Rabbi Michael Zedek | Emanuel Congregation, Chicago, US In modern “dress,” a wonderful, even smile inspiring midrash offers, “Had Reuben known his actions [in not rescuing Joseph from his brothers’ evil plans] would be in the Torah, he would have behaved differently.” Should you prefer the original text, see/look up/Google, Ruth Rabbah 5:6. Millennia and […]

Parashat Miketz

Rabbi Gersh Lazarow | Temple Beth Israel, St Kilda, Victoria “And Joseph recognised his brothers but the brothers did not recognise him.” In one of the great reversals in Tanakh, Joseph, whom we saw at the end of Vayeshev, languishing in prison, becomes in Miketz, a ruler of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. It happens […]