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Jewish Journal

Rabbi Susan Laemmle

  • Familial Forgiveness

    December 16, 2004 | 7:00 pm

     

    The syllabus for my USC general education class includes both Shakespeare's "The Tempest" and Chapters 37-50 of Genesis -- the Joseph story or "novella." These two narratives share themes that commend themselves: forgiveness and reconciliation. Both Prospero and Joseph were set...

  • Silence on Israel Is Not Golden

    January 9, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    For Avi Davis, truth is a blazing light threatening to blind the unprepared.

    There are no moderating factors or gradations, just a division between those who can handle its assault and those who can't.

    In contrast to Davis' unitary absolutism, traditional Jewish wisdom tends to...

  • Quality, Not Quantity

    May 9, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    This week's Torah portion begins a new biblical book, after which the parsha is named in English, "Numbers,"and in Hebrew, "Bamidbar," best translated as "In the Wilderness."

    Juxtaposing the two very different names turns out to have resonance, both then and now. Between leaving...

  • Contemporary Commandments

    January 31, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    There is little doubt that Aseret Ha-dibrot, the Ten Commandments, form the centerpiece of Parshat Yitro and probably the entire Torah.

    The congregation rises three times a year when they are chanted. The paired tablets on which they were inscribed adorn most synagogue arks. And...

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  • A New Nation

    October 25, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Jewish history begins with God's call to Abram: "Go forth from your native land and from your father's house to the land that I will show you." This call resonates through the millennia in two important ways. It connects our earliest beginnings and very identity as a people to the...

  • On the Road Again

    July 19, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    It's summer -- when long, golden-edged days yield to cool California evenings. A time when people travel to distant or nearer spots, seeking new or sweetly familiar experiences, touching base with the people and places that matter to them. A time when a good many families move from...

  • Creating Order

    May 17, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Every Monday evening of the recently concluded semester at USC, I met with a diverse group of students in a residence hall lounge to view and discuss the "Decalogue" films created by the late Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski. Each film in this justly praised series presents an...

  • Face to Face

    March 15, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Parashat Ki Tisa tells us that "the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one man speaks to another." (Exodus 33:11) We also hear God telling Moses, "I have singled you out by name, and you have indeed gained My favor" (Exodus 33:12). In Numbers 12:8, God explains that only...

  • Familial Forgiveness

    January 4, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    The syllabus for my USC general education class includes both Shakespeare's "The Tempest" and chapters 37-50 of Genesis -- the Joseph story or "novella." These two narratives share themes that commend themselves: forgiveness and reconciliation. Both Prospero and Joseph were set upon...

  • Two Tribes

    November 23, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    "Sarah's life was 127 years. Sarah died in Kiriath-arba [now Hebron] in the land of Canaan." So begins a paradoxical Torah portion in which life and death touch with unusual proximity and resonance. Sarah's death sets into train two processes - two textual episodes - each of which...

  • Relationships with God

    September 21, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    When John and I married, our invitation featured a verse from this week's Haftorah (Isaiah 61:10-63:9): Yasis alayich Elochayich kimsos chatan al kalah, rendered freely as "Come join in the sanctification of our joy"; literally, "As a bridegroom rejoices in a bride, so your God will...