A Modern Spiritual Earth Day Interpretation

As Earth Day approaches, we must ask ourselves: Have we been good stewards of the land? Professor Arnold M. Eisen of the Jewish Theological Seminary perceives this parsha as the Biblical-era “way for the community to set itself right with God and one another.” Eisen references medieval commentator Nahmanides: “The deeds of the ancestors are a sign… Read More

Skin-Deep Storytelling

In this week’s double Parsha,Tazria/Metzora, the Torah teaches about a spiritual malady that manifested itself physically in the form of scaly patches on the skin. This disease,tzara’at, is often mistranslated as leprosy, but they are two separate conditions with two different sets of symptoms.

B’Teavon

At first read, it seems difficult to find a convergent theme for parshat Shemini. The parsha begins with the inauguration of the Mishkan, God’s “earthly dwelling place.” The great happiness of this inauguration is clouded by the death of Nadav and Avihu, two of Aaron’s sons, who had brought an “alien offering” (10:2). However, Aaron’s enigmatic silence… Read More

Forgiving Shana

Everyone loved Shana. In her quiet way, Shana would ask the girls to play jump rope or sardines at recess. She would spend time reading quietly in her room. I was one of her biggest fans — until the day the trouble began. It was the middle days of Passover, and Shana had come over… Read More

Hidden Good

In the Torah reading for Shabbat Chol Hamoed, Moshe makes an interesting request.  He asks God: “Hareini na et kivodecha” (Exodus 33:18), which literally translates as “Show me your honor.” Moshe knew God better than anyone.  He spoke to God directly. It was through Moshe that God performed many miracles.  So what did he mean… Read More

Real Freedom Fighters

At our Seders we will recite, “We were slaves of Pharoah in Egypt,” and we will repeat the words “slaves” and “slavery” many times. Yes, we’ll talk about slavery, but how many of us have done anything about it? One hundred and fifty years ago this July 1 at Gettysburg, Jewish soldiers of the 82nd… Read More

Useless Avi

Eli was a tall, bright and athletic 12 year old. He threw the football like a pro, and he caught passes better than anyone else. Sam, who was shy, played an OK game. His throws didn’t spiral, and he tripped a lot during practice. So when Sam was placed on Eli’s after-school football team, Eli… Read More

Coming To Judaism

In this week’s parasha, Bo, Moshe is instructed to approach Pharoah. The word, “Bo” is in the imperative form, denoting that a male is asked to come to a particular place or person. One can wonder why the word “Bo,” meaning come, is used at the beginning. It seems that a better word would have… Read More

Yet To Be

It was simple and easy in the beginning. I was born Jewish. Since our wedding, however, my wife and I have affiliated with and been active in congregations that are Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist and Modern Orthodox. Ultimately, we found none of them met our needs. We did, however, manage to continue our 36-year commitment to… Read More