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Chukat

Posted on June 25th, 2017

Numbers 19:1 - 22:1 

By Rabbi Bradley Artson, The following article is reprinted with permission from American Jewish University, for MyJewishLearning.com


Miriam: Water Under The Bridge?


Miriam's death should motivate us to recognize people today who provide nurture and support.


Careers of public figures take on a life of their own, ebbing and flowing with shifts in public opinion and the latest values. One Jewish figure whose popularity is at an all-time high is the prophet Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron.

While featured prominently in the Torah , Miriam’s claim to fame always paled in the face of her more visible brothers. After all, Aaron was the first Kohen Gadol (high priest), the link between the Jewish people and their religion, and Moses was the intimate friend of God, transmitting sacred teachings to the people.

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Korach

Posted on June 18th, 2017

NUMBERS 16:1−18:32 

Rabbi Marc Wolf is assistant vice-chancellor of The Jewish Theological Seminary


Jewish Texts: The Ultimate Self-Help Guide


Amidst seemingly mundane laws, valuable lessons emerge.


A colleague and friend who shares my fascination with golf as well as my plague of performing poorly, recently gifted me with a book entitled, Golf is Not a Game of Perfect.

It is another one of the ever-expanding genre of self-help books in sheep’s clothing in which the subject, in this case, golf, is viewed as a microcosm of life. Accordingly, the sport is given a philosophical reach that outdistances any drive from the tee. It is filled with pithy moral teachings such as “Golfers must learn to love the challenge when they hit a ball into the rough … the alternatives–anger, fear, whining, and cheating–do no good.” Through tangible advice on the game, it subtly links such challenges as hitting a 40-foot putt to reaching for personal and professional goals. Books like this one and others of this ilk by sports personalities like George Forman and Michael Jordan tend to see an ecumenical relevance in seemingly mundane activities.

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Shlach

Posted on June 11th, 2017

Numbers 13:1 - 15:41 


BY RABBI DIANNE COHLER-ESSES. Reprinted with permission from Torah Topics for Today, in myjewishlearning.com 


Self-Confidence Makes Courage Possible


Shlah: A resource for families.


Courage is necessary to get through certain moments in each of our lives.  For some it takes courage to meet  new people or walk alone into a party.  For others it’s a job interview or moving to a new place.  There are those who have an abundance of courage and those who have it in short supply.  But what makes courage possible is self-confidence — a positive self-image and a belief that things will turn out all right.

In this week’s Torah portion, Moses chooses twelve men to go to the Promised Land to see whether it is conquerable and inhabitable. Ten of the men come back saying that it’s not possible to conquer the land because they perceive that giants live there. Two of the men, Joshua and Caleb, come back saying, “We can do it”. They are ready to fight.  The ten men who lack courage see themselves as very small, saying they are as “grasshoppers” in the eyes of the inhabitants of the land, and in their own eyes as well. They lack the self-confidence it takes to do what is required. 

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Beha’alotcha

Posted on June 4th, 2017

Numbers 8:1 - 12:16 

 
By Rabbi Ismar Schorsch. Reprinted with permission of the Jewish Theological Seminary for MyJewishLearning.com


Sometimes, There Are Second Chances


Of "Second Passover," Rabbi Akiva, and adult bat mitzvahs


One of the most compelling new rituals in the Conservative synagogue is the adult bat-mitzvah. The impulse is egalitarian, the result religious empowerment. The women who participate enjoyed no bat-mitzvah ceremony in their youth. Years later they seek to fill the void. Usually in small groups of up to a dozen, they study with their rabbi and cantor for a period of at least two years.

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Nasso

Posted on May 28th, 2017

Numbers 4:21-7:89 


BY RABBI NOAH ARNOW, JTS, for myjewishlearning.com 


In the Priestly Blessing, Seeing Parenthood’s Trajectory


A prayer for yesterday, today and tomorrow — all in one.


The journey of parenthood is strange and winding. At first we are responsible for these tiny, precious bodies that rely on us completely. Then, they slowly grow, and become increasingly independent, and somehow don’t need us anymore. They become our peers, looking us eye to eye, borrowing clothes, debating us. And before we know it, they have surpassed us — in height and accomplishment. Eventually we find they are taking care of us..

I think of myself and my children in these three stages every time I bless them with the Priestly Blessing (Numbers 6:24-26) on Friday nights (well, every time I bless them and no one is crying, which, thankfully, is happening more frequently).

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