I Don’t Want to Observe Tisha B’Av This Year

As we turn the calendar this weekend to the month of Av, the observance of Tisha B'Av (the "ninth of Av") is upon us. This is a day of mourning, in which it is customary to fast, read the biblical Book of Lamentations, and reflect on the calamities that have befallen the Jewish people. The …

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For Yourself and All of Us, Please Get Vaccinated

A strange story in this week's Torah portion, only six verses long: They set out from Mount Hor by way of the Sea of Reeds to skirt the land of Edom. But the people grew restive on the journey, and the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why did you make us leave Egypt …

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A Prayer for this Moment

https://www.tiktok.com/@rabbi_360/video/6964880869681073413?is_copy_url=0&is_from_webapp=v1&sender_device=pc&sender_web_id=6959586378247194117 This Shabbat I pray. I pray for the cease fire to hold. Forever. I pray for the mourners and the caregivers. I pray for the dead and the living. I pray for the children. I pray for the end of fear and hatred. I pray for the healing of generational trauma. I pray for …

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Covenant at a Time of Pain

This Sunday night we recommit ourselves to the Jewish covenant. This Sunday night is Shavuot, the festival of Torah. We celebrate the story of Revelation in the Book of Exodus, when Moses went to the top of Mount Sinai to receive the Torah from God, and a group of former Israelite slaves from Egypt coalesced …

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The Torah of Helplessness

We are given a clear statement of biblical theology in this week's Torah portion, the last of the Book of Leviticus: If you follow My laws and faithfully observe My commandments, I will grant your rains in their season, so that the earth shall yield its produce and the trees of the field their fruit. …

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The Challenge of Four Cubits

Towards of the beginning of the entire Talmud we read: Once I heard what Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Ami said in the name of Ulla: Since the day the Temple was destroyed, the Holy Blessed One has only one place in the world, only the four cubits of halakha (Jewish law) alone. (Babylonian Talmud, Berachot 8a) …

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Our House, Afflicted

Leviticus is one of the more challenging and interesting books to read because it reflects a spiritual reality and theology that is far from our own. In this week’s portion of Tazria and Metzorah, we read about tzaraat--afflictions that are commonly but not accurately translated as “leprosy”—that are diagnosed by a priest and remedied through …

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Emerging from our Narrow Places

Just before Passover, I got my first shot. And it felt like a liberation. Anxiously waiting for vaccine distribution to speed up, I was contacted by someone I know who was working at a distribution site in Shelton. Appointments were unfilled, she asked, would I like one? So on Friday afternoon I drove up 101 …

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TikTok Seder!

Thanks for joining in the TikTok Seder! 14 videos, one for each step of the journey. Each video provides an opportunity for reflection or kavannah (intention) or question. You can do a full Seder or just watch the videos and reflect. Or something in-between! A few prelims: The Seder is what you want to make …

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