Hayom Harat Olam | Rosh Hashanah

By Rabbi Jonas Jacquelin | After each set of the shofar blowing during the Rosh Hashana service we say “Hayom Harat Olam”: “Today is the…

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Isolation, offerings and purification: Mundane Teachings with Great Meaning | Parashat Tazria-Metzora

This past March, while participating in a Germany-Belarus interfaith trip, I learned the story of Fritz Rappolt. Though not mentally ill, Fritz had been diagnosed as psychopathic at the Bethel Hospital in Bielefeld, but was released from Bethel in September, 1940 when Jews were not allowed to be treated in medical institutions.

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We Wear Our Sins | Parashat Tazria-Metzora

This week’s portion, Tazria – Metzora, is the greatest homiletic challenge to a preacher, for it deals with the issues of leprosy. No doubt, the Biblical writer did not mean Hansen’s disease, as we know it today, but some skin malformation that caused those who saw it to take a step back in fear. The text itself centers on the ways the “leprosy” is diagnosed and the ritual purification that occurs after an imposed quarantine, which lasted until the disease evidenced remission.

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The Purity of Memory and Rememberance | Parashot Tazria-Metzora

This week, in Australia and in Israel, we observe two significant events for honour and remembrance, both on the 25th of April.  In Australia, we offer our annual memorial service for the ANZACs – members of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps who fought together valiantly during the First World War.  Dawn services and ceremonies throughout the nation provide opportunity for reflection and solemn commemoration.

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Torah from around the world #60

by Rabbi Mark Goldsmith, Alyth – North Western Reform Synagogue , London, UK The birth of a child is always an amazing thing – no matter that children have been born in huge numbers since time immemorial – it is still a little miracle every time a child is born.  In a Midrash interpreting our […]

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The Ten Commandments of the Internet (Parshat Tazria – Metsora)

We often think that e-mails or text messages are like oral conversation; that once the words are pronounced they disappear, but it is not the case. They stay in the minds of people that have been hurt, and the pain is difficult to erase. A little click can cause a great shock: let us take our time, zeman nakat, let us hurry slowly so that we be motsi shem tov – uttering good words, words of good.

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Torah from Around the World #373

Recent Issues By: Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg, Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto , Ontario, Canada A Time for Silence and a Time for Speaking The famous words of Ecclesiastes (3:1) remind us that ” a season is set for everything, a time for every experience under heaven” . Some of the actions associated with these experiences […]

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Torah from Around the World #318

By: Raphael W. Asher, Rabbi Emeritus, Congregation Bnai Tikvah , Walnut Creek, California, USA Pretty nearly full disclosure: My critical take on some of the excesses of the kashrut establishment come from family lore involving my two grandfathers (z”l). One was the Landesrabbiner in Hesse, Germany in the pre-war years. When some Kosher ingredients became […]

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Torah from Around the World #268

Recent Issues By Rabbi Alan Londy, D.Min., Rabbi of the New Reform Temple, Member of the Rabbinic Circle of the WUPJ Progressive Judaism is one of the key elements for the vitality and survival of the Jewish people.  It arose from a group of serious Jews who were concerned by the challenges of the modern […]

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Playing with Fire | Parashat Shmini

I have a love-hate relationship with this climactic passage in Parashat Shmini. The literary critic in me loves the spare wording, the way the story leaves so much to the imagination of the reader. I find Aaron’s silence in the face of literally unspeakable tragedy to be deeply moving. And there is the enduring mystery here: have Nadav and Avihu committed a crime so terrible that the only appropriate penalty is death?

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Follow the Instructions | Parashat Shmini

When my children were younger I used to have pangs of anxiety around their birthdays and Hanukkah. I loved the celebration. I found great pleasure in their excitement. It was fun getting together with extended family for cake ice cream. My fear was related to the presents and three simple words: “some assembly required.” The […]

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