A Time for Anger

The other day I was driving from the westside to the eastside through downtown Olympia and I just couldn't believe we had gotten to this point. Everyone who was out, casually going about their day, was wearing a mask, keeping their distance from other people, and walking passed closed and boarded up businesses. It's not …

Continue reading A Time for Anger

Korach and the Limits of Individualism

Throughout the 40-year journey of the Israelites to the Promised Land, the Torah teaches, the former slaves learn what it is to become a nation. In the book of Numbers, which we are reading as part of our annual Torah reading cycle, the Israelites time and time again test Moses and God as they journey …

Continue reading Korach and the Limits of Individualism

Joshua and Caleb and Facebook and Twitter

This week we read the famous story of the spies, who were sent into Canaan to scout it out in anticipation of the Israelites moving in. Moses sent 12 spies/scouts--one from each tribe--into the land. They spent 40 days wandering about, taking notes, looking around, and then returned to the Israelites to report. They all …

Continue reading Joshua and Caleb and Facebook and Twitter

Two Trumpets, One Sound

In the Torah this week we are told to make trumpets: God spoke to Moses, saying: Have two silver trumpets made; make them of hammered work. They shall serve you to summon the community and to set the divisions in motion. When both are blown in long blasts, the whole community shall assemble before you …

Continue reading Two Trumpets, One Sound

Mourning and Affirmation

We are a nation in mourning. We are a nation mourning the death of George Floyd, whose recent death at the hands of the Minneapolis police has once again brought to the surface the reality of racism in this country. We are a nation mourning other victims of police brutality and racist violence like Breonna …

Continue reading Mourning and Affirmation

On Shavuot, We Must Study The Torah of Inclusivity, Accessibility, and Equality

While the traditional greeting for Shavuot is, like other holidays, chag sameach, one colloquial greeting that I've come across is "See you at Sinai." The idea behind that phrase is that while on Shavuot we remember the biblical story of the revelation of the Torah by God to Moses on Mount Sinai, a story recounted …

Continue reading On Shavuot, We Must Study The Torah of Inclusivity, Accessibility, and Equality

The World is Revealing Itself To Us

The joke that during our quarantine time no one remembers what day it is rings true for me. While I'm able to stay on top of Shabbat, other days and tasks flow together. I realized the other day that I haven't written my "weekly post" for a few weeks! In our Torah reading this week …

Continue reading The World is Revealing Itself To Us

After the Separation, the Return

This week's Torah portion has always been one that has seemed somewhat esoteric and hard to understand. Then the coronavirus happened. The double portion of Tazria/Metzora describes various skin diseases and how they are treated. If one has an outbreak, or a rash, or lesions, they go to the priest to decides whether or not …

Continue reading After the Separation, the Return