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torah commentary
Holy history or sacred seeds?
Shabbat Chol Ha-Moed Sukkot 33:12-34:26 The Three Festivals we celebrate are powerful connectors of the Jewish people across time and space. Sukkot, Pesach and Shavuot each provide essential connec...
Oct 01, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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Ha’azinu ode on a biblical urn
Parshat Ha’azinu Deuteronomy 32:1 - 32:52 This week’s Torah portion of Ha’azinu contains a poetic narrative, and then in its conclusion it describes the last days of Moses’ life as he stood on Moun...
Sep 24, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend
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The gift of our words
Parshat Vayelech, Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30 “Turn, O Israel, toward the Eternal, your God, that you may confess to your transgressions. Take with you words and turn to God saying, sweep away in forgiv...
Sep 16, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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With help, support and inspiration
What are the prerequisites to convert to Judaism? If you could choose, what would they be? While some of our denominations have a very clear answer, others are more flexible. As a Reform rabbi, I h...
Sep 09, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend
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Choosing a path
Parshat Ki Tavo, Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8 A person is led on the path that he (or she) truly wants to travel on. (Talmud Makkot 10b) If a person comes to purify him (or her) self, he (or she) will be ...
Sep 02, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend
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Cultivating compassion
Ki Tetzei, Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19 Among the 72 mitzvot that are delineated in the parasha of Ki Tetzei, there is one that some consider to be an “easy” mitzvah. In Deuteronomy 22:6-7 we learn, “If...
Aug 27, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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‘Walking to the sky’
by Rabbi David Novitzky Beth Israel Congregation, Washington, Pa.
Nov 07, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 157 157 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayetzei, Genesis 28:10-32:3 In my opinion, one of the best sites to visit in Pittsburgh is Jonathan Borofsky’s “Walking to the Sky” exhibit located at Carnegie Mellon University. The sculpture is ...
Esau: good or bad?
by Rabbi Sara Rae Perman Congregation Emanu-El Israel, Greensburg
Oct 29, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 160 160 recommendations | email to a friend
Toldot, Genesis 25:19-28:9 This week’s parshah is, in my opinion, a disturbing one. The story begins with the birth of the fraternal twins, Esau and Jacob.  From the beginning it is clear they are ...
The imperfect ideal
by Rabbi Howard Stein
Oct 24, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 159 159 recommendations | email to a friend
Chayei Sarah, Genesis 23:1-25:18 There is a certain wisdom to the way Torah presents our people’s heroes. Rather than the idealized figures found in many other religious traditions, the characters ...
Healing has its spiritual side
by Rabbi Donni C. Aaron, Jewish Community Center
Oct 16, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 153 153 recommendations | email to a friend
Vayera, Genesis 18:1-22:24 I always teach my students that there is a Jewish prayer for everything in the world.  Inevitably, I have a child who likes to challenge me and asks me in a silly way, “I...
The souls they made
by Rabbi Paul Tuchman, Temple B’nai Israel, White Oak
Oct 09, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 158 158 recommendations | email to a friend
Lech Lecha, Genesis 12:1-17:27 What happens between the 11th and 12th chapters of Genesis? We read at the end of chapter 11 that Terach moves with his family, including Avram and Sarai, from Ur to ...
The pot and the potter
by Rabbi Jonathan Perlman, New Light Congregation
Oct 03, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 156 156 recommendations | email to a friend
Noach, Genesis 6:9-11:32 When I attended Rodef Shalom as a child, I remember sitting in the balcony and gazing at the vaulted ceilings and the people in the pews below while listening to basso stir...
When worlds collide
by Rabbi Nosson Sachs, UPMC Shadyside
Sep 26, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 154 154 recommendations | email to a friend
Bereshit, Genesis 1:1-6:8 Many people today think that disagreements between the Torah and science are recent, having arisen since the modern emergence of scientific theory. This is actually not tr...
Sukkot: A time of happiness and gratitude
by Rabbi Eli Seidman, Jewish Association on Aging
Sep 18, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 160 160 recommendations | email to a friend
Sukkot One of the many names for the holiday of Sukkot (aka Booths) is zeman simchateinu (the time of our happiness).  Why, of all of the holidays, does Sukkot have the distinction of being called ...
Now is the opportunity for wholeness
by Rabbi Jessica Locketz, Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Sep 11, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 159 159 recommendations | email to a friend
Yom Kippur “Forgiveness is a funny thing.  It warms the heart and cools the sting.” These words by William A. Ward, suggest that forgiveness brings comfort, similar to a cup of hot chocolate on a c...
Time of reflection is at hand
by Rabbi Sharyn Henry, Rodef Shalom Congregation
Aug 28, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 163 163 recommendations | email to a friend
Nitzavim-Vayelech, Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30 Nelson Mandela has been in the news recently with reports about his failing health. The anti-apartheid activist who became South Africa’s first democratica...