Parashat Bo and Shabbat of Love

Posted on January 19, 2024

This Shabbat, Temple Beth-El joins with the Union of Reform Judaism and the Jewish Federation of North America to celebrate a Shabbat of Love to embrace our fellow Jews, spread love, and create more Jewish-positive spaces during one of the hardest times in our history and bring a bit of extra warmth through worship and Continue Reading »

Sh’mot: Blindsided by the Burning Bush

Posted on January 5, 2024

This week, we begin studying the book of Exodus. The first chapter is called Sh’mot which translates to English as Names. I will focus my thoughts on one of the most famous stories found in the Torah. God appears to Moses in a burning bush at the foot of Mount Sinai, and instructs him to Continue Reading »

Va-yechi: May We Truly Live

Posted on December 29, 2023

This Shabbat, as we prepare to turn a page in the secular calendar, we also turn a page in Torah. With Parashat Va-yechi and the death of Jacob, we come to the end of the Book of Genesis and the days of our patriarchs and matriarchs. It is the end of an era, the end Continue Reading »

Vayiggash: The Power of Proximity

Posted on December 22, 2023

The story of Joseph and his brothers was about to end in disaster. Having woven a web of revenge around his siblings who had sold him into slavery, Joseph was about to deliver the final blow when his oldest brother Judah made a bold and courageous move. Vayiggash Yehudah… “Judah drew near…” “he approached…” He Continue Reading »

Miketz: A “Hearing Heart”

Posted on December 15, 2023

At the beginning of Parshat Miketz, the focus of attention is on Pharoah and his dreams. In his first dream, the exalted King of Egypt saw seven fat cows devoured by seven lean and sickly cows. In his second dream, he saw seven healthy ears of corn on one stalk. And then those seven ears Continue Reading »

Vayeitzei: Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right

Posted on November 24, 2023

This week’s Torah portion, Vayeitzei, primarily covers the narrative of Jacob’s journey to Haran, his experiences there, and the beginnings of his family. The majority of this parsha is devoted to the concept of deception. Most of us know that Jacob tricked Esau into giving up his birthright and that Laban outwitted Jacob. In last Continue Reading »

Parashat Toldot – We Are All Kin

Posted on November 17, 2023

This week’s parashah, Toldot, tells us of the birth of the twin brothers, Jacob and Esau, and how they become bitter rivals. It looks at first like a redux of Cain and Abel, a sobering tale of fratricide, and a prophecy that humanity is doomed to never-ending conflict. Even before they are born, the twins Continue Reading »

The Gift of Shabbat

Posted on November 10, 2023

Last week, my colleague Rabbi Joanna Samuels, the Director of the JCC of Manhattan, urged her community to take a break from the stress and anxiety of these troubling times by accepting the gift of Shabbat. One way to do this, she suggested, is to take a break from social media and doom scrolling through Continue Reading »

Wish I Could Advocate for a Ceasefire in Gaza, but I Cannot

Posted on November 3, 2023

Some have called it Israel’s 9/11. Some have called it a pogrom. Neither of these analogies is perfect, but they both are true. The mass slaughter of innocent Israeli children, women, and men was an act of pure evil, as was the taking of civilian hostages, numbering more than 200, including infants and children, the Continue Reading »

Go Forth and Lead Your People

Posted on October 27, 2023

This week’s parsha, Lech Lecha, from the Book of Genesis, is translated as ‘Go Forth.’ This portion focuses on Abram and Sarai who are later renamed Abraham and Sarah by God. Highlights include Abram and Sarai, along with Abram’s nephew Lot, beginning their journey to the land promised to them by God; a famine which Continue Reading »