But by My Spirit
Parshat Miketz

It is a common scene in the United States at this time of year. The shopping malls, television commercials and all public venues are transformed visually. As Dec. 25 approaches, we see the evidence that we do indeed live in a predominantly Christian country. Images of Santa Claus and his reindeer, evergreen trees with dazzling… Read More

Clothes Make the Story

To Paraphrase Mark Twain, “Clothes make the [story].” Throughout the course of this week’s Torah portion, references to clothing accentuate and propel the unfolding drama. As the parshah opens, the tension between Joseph and his brothers reaches its boiling point. They conspire to kill him out of jealousy, for he is their father’s favorite son,… Read More

Our Jewish Birthright
Parshat Vayishlach

The biblical kashrut laws for Jews have always been a powerful tool in keeping us a “nation set apart.” We left Jacob last week leaving Laban and Laban-land behind, heaven-bent on returning to the land of Abraham and to the house of Isaac. Jacob understands that his inner self has been overtaken by the deceitful… Read More

Opening the Well of Interpretation
Parshat Vayetze

In Jewish tradition, wells give life by providing not only water, but also a meeting place for our ancestors to find their mates. In this week’s Torah portion, Jacob meets his beloved Rachel at a well. Emboldened perhaps by love at first sight, he rolls away the heavy stone covering the mouth of the well… Read More

Friday Night with Grandpa

112114_jewishview-Rabbi-Weinreb

My paternal grandfather, Chaim Yitzchak Weinreb, was an old-school Jew, with roots in the region of eastern Poland known as Galicia. He had studied under renowned Talmudists back in the old country, and his fervent wish was to see his grandchildren grow up to be dedicated Talmud students. I was his oldest grandchild and discovered… Read More

The Importance of Free Will

This Shabbat we read from Parshat Vayera, which tells the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. God destroyed these two towns filled with malicious people because they were so evil, God could not help them find the path of goodness. Many times in the Torah, one must delve very deep into the text, looking at every… Read More

Rachel’s Desire

“Nice boots,” my friend Rachel said one day, as we walked home from Hebrew day school. “I got them from one of my aunts, I’m her favorite!” I said. “So let me know when you are ready to give them away.” Rachel said, as she gave me a wink. The next week as we walked… Read More

A Call to Help the Children

In this week’s parshah, Abram is put to the first test. He is told to leave his homeland and go to the “land which I will show you.” He packs up all of his possessions, including his wife, his cattle, his servants and slaves and his tents. He then leaves his homeland and goes to… Read More

A New Beginning

This Shabbat we read parshat Noah, and the haftorah is from the Book of Isaiah. In parshat Noah, God floods the earth because of the bad behavior of the people. He tells the prophet Noah to build an ark and fill it with a male and a female of every animal and bring them on… Read More

The Choices We Make

This Shabbat, we read the beginning of the Torah, Parashat Bereishit. This text is about creation. On the first day, God created light and darkness. Each day God created something new such as the waters, the grass and the trees. After that, He created the sun, the moon and the stars, followed by birds in… Read More