The Difficult Work of the Erev Rav

The Israelites finally make their way out of Egypt in this week’s Torah portion of Beshallach. Having been freed by Pharaoh, the people make their way to the shore of the Red Sea. After Pharaoh dispatches his army after the freed slaves, the Israelites cry out to be saved from a seemingly impossible situation. Moses …

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For Passover and the Exodus, think Rivers not Seas

This column first appeared in the Rabbis Without Borders blog on My Jewish Learning. You can read the original post here. It’s spring break in our school district, so we are taking a road trip. We left our home in Olympia on the Puget Sound and drove to Boise, ID, where we have family. We …

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Watching Out for the Ox That Gores

In this week’s Torah portion of Mishpatim we continue the theme of last week's: the revelation at Sinai. Having journeyed out of Egyptian slavery, the Israelites are now at Mount Sinai where Moses is to receive the laws. Mishpatim means “laws” and the portion is a collection of different laws and practices that we are …

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Being Good Citizens

In this week’s Torah portion the Israelites, under the leadership of Moses, have escaped from Egyptian slavery, crossed the Red Sea and are beginning their journey to the Promised Land. Jethro, Moses’s father-in-law, has heard about the events that took place, and travels from his home in Midian to meet up with Moses in the …

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Moses and Aaron: Allies for Justice

The Inauguration is upon us. The peaceful transfer of power that is a hallmark of our American democracy goes into effect on Friday. Yet this time power is being transferred to a man who enters the office with the lowest approval rating in recent history, who lost the popular vote by 3 million votes, whose …

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Nachshon Moments, on Land as on Sea

The Israelites are on the move in this week's Torah portion, Beha'alotcha, as they pick up their journey through the Wilderness to the Promised Land. It is quite a logistical ordeal, moving that many people along with all of their belongings, not to mention all of the communal property, primarily the Tabernacle, their central sanctuary …

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