A Reflection of Self(ies) | Parashat Ki Tisa

The selfie with a cell phone might seem quintessentially 21st Century but Midrash on our parasha would suggest that there is an ancient precursor to…

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Paying Attention to our Achilles Heel | Parashat Ekev

In the pantheon of human body parts, the heel is one of the most maligned. Think about Greek mythology and the story of Achilles, who was dipped completely in the River Styx by his mother Thetis with the exception of one crucial body part in order to attain immortality, leaving him vulnerable to his eventual demise at the hands of Paris. 

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This Land is My Land – Now | Parashat Devarim

As an (amateur) historian of certain aspects of the Middle East I am frequently concerned and appalled at the widespread ignorance concerning even modern, not just ancient history. Political discussions and articles by two-dimensional journalists and biased punditry and hate-filled slogans work on the basis that whatever exists Now was always there, or that whoever wanted to establish a land in the 20th.

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Building a Community is a Journey | Parashat Matot-Mase’ei

With these two Torah portions we finish the Book of Numbers and move on to Deuteronomy, Moses’s last testament to the people he has led for a generation.  These last few chapters of Numbers are troubling for us today on many levels. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.​ 

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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.

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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 […]

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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 […]

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