God’s Tenuous Promise | Parashat Pinchas

Pinchas, a Torah Portion that paradoxically begins with God countenancing violence with a “covenant of peace,” a brit shalom. Pinchas is a priest that alone should connote a non-violent, thoughtful, ritually driven sort of personality. His grandfather is Aaron, so he was afforded the best of everything during the circuitous Israelite journey to the promised land.

I Erred Because I Did Not Know | Parashat Chukat-Balak

Have you ever ended up somewhere that you wish you had not? Sure there were signs along the way warning you that it was a mistake. But for some reason you didn’t see them, you didn’t recognize them, and you kept going down the wrong path. 

Not All Rebellions Look (or End) Like Korach’s Did | Parashat Korach

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States this year, Rabbi Carole Balin, Ph.D., is sharing eight chapters of an “alternative Book of Numbers” designed to tell the stories of Jewish women who combined civic engagement with Jewish values in a 40-year struggle “in the wilderness” to pass the 19th Amendment.​ 

Have a Little Faith | Parashat Shelach Lechah

What does it mean to “have faith?” We use this expression in a variety of situations – have a little faith in me; keep up the faith; be faithful – all of which tend to be used by people concerning their relationships with other people. But the main use of the expression ‘faith’ is in the realm of religion.

Are We There Yet? | Parashat Beha’alotcha

Rabbi Melanie Aron | Congregation Shir Hadash, California, USA When we first began practicing elbow bumps and hand washing (long enough to sing Happy Birthday twice all the way through), I don’t think any of us imagined that in June we would be just barely out of phase 1 of the Coronavirus pandemic. Lacking an […]

The Biblical Nazir as a model for Volunteer Communal Leadership | Parashat Naso

Rabbi Neal I. Borovitz The opening of Parashat Naso (Nu. 4:21-49) marks the conclusion of the wilderness census, which began last week in Bamidbar. Whereas most of last week’s census was for the purpose of a military draft, the opening of Naso assigns roles for particular families of the tribe of Levi, whose service to […]

Making Our Way Together to Sinai | Shavuot

Rabbi Eleanor Steinman, RJE | Congregation Beth Israel, Texas, USA This year, the Omer, the time between the celebrations of Passover and Shavuot took on new meaning. As our world responded to the Covid-19 pandemic it felt like we are counting with extra intensity. When the stay home orders came to my home state of […]

Two Titles That Teach Us About Life During The Coronavirus Pandemic | Parashat Bamidbar

Rabbi Joseph Edelheit | founding Rabbi of Associação Israelita Norte Paranaense (Beit Tikvá), Maringa, Brazil   Every book of the Torah has two titles. The Hebrew title is derived from the first word or the first most significant word. The other title comes from the Latin translation which was later translated into English in the 1611 King James […]

Bringing Down the Curses | Parashat Behar-Bechukotai

Rabbi Dr Barbara Borts | Associate Lecturer, Dept of Music, Newcastle University, UK Bechukotai. It begins quite nicely, doesn’t it, lots of ‘blessed be, but it sure doesn’t end nicely. Every blessing is countered in the next section, turned into its evil opposite, the curse. If you have ever been to a traditional shul during […]

To Care for All at All Times | Parashat Emor

Rabbi Dr. Rena Arshinoff, PhD | Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, Toronto, Canada Pirkei Avot 3:14 teaches that Rabbi Akiva said “human beings are loved because they were made in God’s image.” As a result, we are troubled by the subsequent verses in Parashat Emor that follow a list of visible physical “defects” that priests […]