Truth to Power | Parashat Balak

In today’s day and age, it is almost trite to talk about the power of words. Trite, because unless you’ve been living under a rock,…

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Truth to Power | Parashat Balak

In today’s day and age, it is almost trite to talk about the power of words. Trite, because unless you’ve been living under a rock, this generation can communicate the most trivial of things to the farthest reaches of the world in the blink of an eye.

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Dealing with death | Parashat Chukat

Most people I know would say that death is frightening. While Judaism has notions of afterlife, these are not emphasized.  However, we do have extensive literature on the mourning process.

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Growing Towards Redemption | Shabbat Torah Reading for Passover

What is the single most important thing we can have at our Passover table?My father would argue that it is my late Bubbe’s Wine Cake. When I was little, I might have said that it was the maror to go on top of the gefilte fish. A gardener might focus on the karpas, with its greenery and symbols of spring. My rabbinic colleagues might say it is the Matzah.

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Compassion Fatigue and the Exodus from Egypt | Parashat Beshalach

In Australia we speak of “Eureka!” moments: moments when something crystallizes in the mind, when vague thoughts that have been floating about suddenly come together to provide an insight that wasn’t there previously. I had this kind of Eureka! moment as I sat down to prepare the drash on this week’s sidra Beshalach. I realized that much […]

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Finding the Covenant | Parashat Va’Era

Parashat Va’Era (Exodus 6:2–9:35) continues God’s revelation to Moses begun at the Burning Bush. The parasha opens with what, for the Torah, is a lengthy monologue (6:2-6:8), in which God tells Moses six distinct things

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Why Are We Called Jews? | Parashat Vayigash

We were once called Hebrews during the time of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca. After Jacob got his name changed to Israel and moved to Egypt, the people were called Israelites. This continued for the entire biblical period until Rome ruled over an area it called Judea when we were called Judeans. There were a few instances of the word Yehudim–Jews used in the Book of Esther but not enough to make it a historical reality.

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In Miketz, Finding New Female Role Models in the Torah To Talk About

In this weeks parsha, Miketz, Pharaoh has two dreams that need interpreting. You remember that in last week’s parsha, Joseph interpreted dreams for the chief cup bearer and baker. So the chief steward recommends Joseph interpret the dreams of pharaoh also. We only hear about the dreams of men! No women are included.

Global studies show that girls are significantly less likely than boys to believe in their own ability to make their dreams come true. And our tradition, passed down by a male dominated society, often silences the voices, hopes and dreams of women. We don’t hear their stories enough in our traditional texts.

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Fear or Love? Choose. | Parashat Vayishlach

December 2012, Rosh Chodesh, the Kotel. It’s the moment the policewoman pulls me aside because I am wearing my tallis. I say to her, “This must be incredibly hard for you to do.” (She looks back at me puzzled). Many hours later, after being interrogated and finally released from the Old City police station, concerned friends ask, “Were you afraid?” I was not. Since then, I’ve thought a good deal about what makes me afraid – and what does not.

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Mitzvah Goreret Mitzvah, Averah Goreret Averah | Parashat Vayetzei

When Abraham raised his hand to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, nothing would ever remain the same regarding Isaac’s relationship to the world and to those family members close to him. Something irrevocable happened to his psyche which would influence, not only his life, but the lives of his children and grandchildren. Abraham, one could say, initiated the first “sin” by traumatizing his son Isaac while holding that knife over his head. But that one sin seemed to bring on additional sins – from Abraham to Isaac; from Isaac to Jacob. Not exactly what we usually mean when we say: “from generation to generation

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