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Friday Shabbat Shalom

Life, Death and Impurity

Apr 24, 2020

Life, Death and Impurity

My spiritual and intellectual journey as a teacher of Torah began with the purity system in Leviticus. Perhaps this was a strange place to begin my life’s passion — exploring genital discharges, corpse contamination and leprosy. However, the study of biblical purity laws yielded for me a profound appreciation for the beauty and wisdom of our tradition.
The Doorway of 8

Apr 17, 2020

The Doorway of 8

These are strange and unsettling days. Days that might begin with productive equanimity, laughter, with intentional focusing in on the small joys: new recipes, new puzzles, new novels to begin. And yet, too often, these same days can slip into potholes of darkness: unexpected bouts of fear, loss, grief. With our daily rhythms so dramatically altered, it is easy to lose track of time. Days blur and lack their familiar markers.
Pesach in a Time of Pandemic

Apr 14, 2020

Pesach in a Time of Pandemic

Pesach is a time of the year when I am, once again, overwhelmed by the beauty of our tradition’s sacred texts, liturgy and rituals. They are prisms of meaning. For generations, Jews used these sacred texts and rituals to give meaning to their life experience. More frequently than not, the life experiences of our ancestors were harsh and difficult…
The True Nature of Slavery and Freedom

Apr 7, 2020

The True Nature of Slavery and Freedom

Small seders are only one result of the virus. There’s hardly an aspect of our lives that hasn’t been changed. We’re subject to restrictions that now govern our daily activities. This situation can bring us to an understanding of one of the critical lessons of Passover: the true nature of slavery and freedom.
Jews-- We’ve Got This!

Apr 3, 2020

Jews-- We’ve Got This!

As Jews and their loved ones around the world contemplate holding virtual Passover seders this year, all I can think about is -- we’ve done this before. In fact, we do this with every holiday, and we will continue to do it long after COVID-19 disappears from our world (G!D willing).
Finding Grounding When There Is No Ground

Mar 27, 2020

Finding Grounding When There Is No Ground

What day is today? Where am I? What will be? Will my family and friends be healthy? Will I be healthy? If you are asking these questions, and if you are human like me you certainly are, you would like some resolution, some answers some direction. If you are a planner like me, who plans months ahead, likes a schedule, and is someone who prepares, these times can be disconcerting.
It’s All in Your Hands

Mar 20, 2020

It’s All in Your Hands

I don’t remember longing for Shabbat as much as I have this week! Every single one of us is stressed out, bombarded by news, unsure of the future, afraid (don’t deny it) of the virus and its effects on us, our loved ones, our communities and the economy. For those of you who believe in a Higher Power, this is the time to keep repeating (singing!) the beautiful and necessary phrase recited at Havdallah (at the close of Shabbat Saturday night) from Isaiah Chapter 2:
Strength for the Journey

Mar 13, 2020

Strength for the Journey

I don’t remember longing for Shabbat as much as I have this week! Every single one of us is stressed out, bombarded by news, unsure of the future, afraid (don’t deny it) of the virus and its effects on us, our loved ones, our communities and the economy. For those of you who believe in a Higher Power, this is the time to keep repeating (singing!) the beautiful and necessary phrase recited at Havdallah (at the close of Shabbat Saturday night) from Isaiah Chapter 2:
Partnership with G!D

Mar 6, 2020

Partnership with G!D

Last Shabbat, we were introduced to the building of the Mishkan/ Tabernacle with all its intricate detail and purpose. It is the first community project in which participation of the entire community is needed in order to succeed. It is also the transition from a miracle-based religion, where only what G!d does for us defines us, to a religion where we confront the questions of what can we do for G!d and in partnership with G!d to make this world better. The Israelites become a society; they evolved into adulthood.
Give And Take

Feb 28, 2020

Give And Take

The fundraising campaign to build the Mishkan (Tabernacle) teaches us that in true Tzedakah, the giver benefits as much as the taker. This week’s dvar torah was adapted from one written by Rabbi Jordan D. Cohen for KOLEL–The Adult Centre for Liberal Jewish Learning, which is affiliated with Canada’s Reform movement.