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Friday Shabbat Shalom

WHY I LOVE ISRAEL - AND WHY YOU SHOULD, TOO

Apr 16, 2021

WHY I LOVE ISRAEL - AND WHY YOU SHOULD, TOO

I first fell in love with Jewish books at Camp Eisner, the Reform Jewish camp in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Almost fifty summers ago, as a young teenager, I was assigned the duty of cleaning out the camp library. I did a terrible job. The truth is cleaning has never been my strong suit. Reading is.
Sometimes A Mitzvah Really Calls To You

Apr 9, 2021

Sometimes A Mitzvah Really Calls To You

This week's Parashat Shemini contains a long exposition of the laws of kashrut, a practice I didn't grow up with. Though my father z”l loved tradition in general, he was the first one in his family to have a non-kosher home, saying: "" We're American! What is this craziness? We should eat like Americans!
THE BREAD OF FREEDOM

Apr 2, 2021

THE BREAD OF FREEDOM

Matzah is the hard bread that Israelites initially ate in the desert because they plunged into liberty without delaying, “since they were driven out of Egypt and could not delay; nor had they prepared provisions for themselves” (Exodus 12:39). However, matzah carries a more complex message than “Freedom now!”
Imagining Liberation

Mar 26, 2021

Imagining Liberation

The obligation is not only to recall the Exodus but to relive it. On the one hand, rituals of remembrance on festivals are commonplace: We light a menorah on Hanukkah to remember the miracle of the oil. We circle the bimah on Sukkot with the four species to remember a ritual performed on Sukkot in the Temple. On the 9th of Av, we read the Book of Lamentations to remember the destruction of the Temple.
Why Is It Important to Tell Stories?

Mar 19, 2021

Why Is It Important to Tell Stories?

This week's Torah portion, Ki Tisa, begins with Moshe/Moses atop Mount Sinai, communing with God. The last thing God says to Moshe is a set of verses we now know as V'shamru [Exodus 31:16-17], commanding us to keep Shabbat throughout the ages as a sign of covenant with God.Then God gives Moshe the two tablets, inscribed by God's own hand.
Having It All

Mar 12, 2021

Having It All

This week's Torah portion, Ki Tisa, begins with Moshe/Moses atop Mount Sinai, communing with God. The last thing God says to Moshe is a set of verses we now know as V'shamru [Exodus 31:16-17], commanding us to keep Shabbat throughout the ages as a sign of covenant with God.Then God gives Moshe the two tablets, inscribed by God's own hand.
SPIRITUAL BROKENNESS & HEALING

Mar 5, 2021

SPIRITUAL BROKENNESS & HEALING

This week's Torah portion, Ki Tisa, begins with Moshe/Moses atop Mount Sinai, communing with God. The last thing God says to Moshe is a set of verses we now know as V'shamru [Exodus 31:16-17], commanding us to keep Shabbat throughout the ages as a sign of covenant with God.Then God gives Moshe the two tablets, inscribed by God's own hand.
It’s Been a Year!

Feb 26, 2021

It’s Been a Year!

I remember that last year on Purim, we were aware of Covid-19, but not yet panicked. Our lives were still moving forward routinely. My family went to synagogue and celebrated Purim as we normally would - with our community, with raucous, shared fun and celebration. In big, crowded rooms filled with lots of people. A day later...
Becoming a Dwelling Place for the Divine

Feb 19, 2021

Becoming a Dwelling Place for the Divine

While I deeply appreciate and honor the ‘engineering’ aspect of the building of the Mishkan, and the significance of all the specifications and details, I have come to understand the building of the Mishkan as akin to a four-direction compass for the spiritual infrastructure of the Jewish people. In the current state of mayhem and upheaval that we are all experiencing, this compass allegory is especially important today.
So Poor You Sell Your Daughter

Feb 12, 2021

So Poor You Sell Your Daughter

Sometimes when we read the parsha (weekly Torah portion), we are jolted by the disparity between the modern, privileged lives we live in the 21st century and the reality reflected in the Torah and the world in which it appeared. Parashat Mishpatim (Shemot/Exodus 21-24) this week gives us a lot of material to consider.