I just returned from a four-day alumni retreat for rabbis and cantors who had taken part in an Institute for Jewish Spirituality program designed to deepen our own spiritual commitments. During this two-year program we studied Chasidic texts in a weekly telephone chavruta and...
Jewish Federations establishes fund for Ukrainian Jews
Netanyahu visits Silicon Valley, signs Israel-California pro-business pact
U.K.’s top veterinarian suggests ban on ritual slaughter
Fringe Lev Tahor sect must surrender children, Canadian court rules
Obama warns on Crimea, orders sanctions over Russian moves in Ukraine
Aboard the S.S. Jewlicious
Netanyahu’s parting remark to LA: ‘Cannot be tolerant to the intolerant’
Israeli scientists shoot for the moon with dishwasher-sized spacecraft
Rabbi Laura Geller
January 23, 2014 | 3:06 pm
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December 19, 2012 | 10:23 am
August 29, 2012 | 5:33 pm
The High Holy Day liturgy includes the poignant plea: “Do not cast me off b’eyt zikna,” which is usually translated as “when I get old.” It is a fear many of us have, but are often afraid to articulate. We live in a youth-intoxicated culture where older people are sometimes...
June 20, 2012 | 12:56 pm
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November 1, 2011 | 8:29 pm
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March 15, 2011 | 5:18 pm
In some prayer books, the opening verses of this week’s Torah portion serve as a preparation for prayer. The verses repeat over and over again that a perpetual fire shall continue to burn on the altar. Why the focus on the need to keep the fire burning? And what does it mean to us...
January 10, 2011 | 10:18 am
My first encounter with Debbie was in 1986 at the Simchat Chockmah ritual for becoming an elder she helped create and lead for the feminist Biblical scholar, her friend, Savina Teubal. Two moments in the ritual took my breath away. The first was in the middle of the ceremony, when...
November 23, 2010 | 6:24 pm
On a recent trip to Spain, Morocco and Israel called “In the Footsteps of Maimonides,” the members of our group from Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills were the honored guests at a reception at the residence of the American ambassador to Spain, which became the occasion for a...
June 22, 2010 | 5:10 pm
“Anyone who has never read the entire Chumash with Rashi is simply not Jewishly literate,” said Rabbi David Hartman, with whom I was studying 14 years ago at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. “It doesn’t matter whether you read it in Hebrew or English, but you must...
March 16, 2010 | 4:30 pm
This week’s portion begins a new book of the Bible, Leviticus. It is fascinating to look at the first and last words of each of the books of the Torah:
Genesis: When God began to create the heavens and the earth ... in a coffin in Egypt.
Exodus: These are the names of the...
December 16, 2009 | 2:48 am
Miketz is almost always read during the week of Chanukah. Is this a coincidence of the calendar or is there something to learn from this juxtaposition?
As Miketz begins, Joseph has spent two years in an Egyptian prison, which is much like the pit he was thrown into by his brothers...
October 14, 2009 | 3:20 am
Hebrew letters, when decoded, are magical. So it was especially powerful when my adult b’nai mitzvah Hebrew class was working on the letter Bet and opened the Torah to this week’s portion to find that it’s the first letter of Torah.
“Why not Alef?” one student asked.
September 30, 2009 | 2:27 am
After two days of Rosh Hashanah and a very long day on Yom Kippur, you’d think that Jews would be exhausted. Isn’t it enough already?
But no, we still have Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. Sukkot has the most mitzvot: to dwell in the sukkah (booth), to take the four...
July 8, 2009 | 3:57 pm
Last week we began the story of Pinchas, grandson of Aaron and great-nephew of Moses. Pinchas saw Zimri, a Jewish leader, and Cozbi, a Midianite princess, engage in a public display of immorality connected to the idol worship of the Midianites. Frustrated by Moses’ hesitation in...
February 4, 2009 | 3:52 am
One of the real pleasures of my work as a rabbi is that I get to spend time with the children in our schools. Recently, the third-graders of Temple Emanuel Academy Day School decided to interview me.
They asked all kinds of questions: “How do you get to become a rabbi?” “What...
September 11, 2003 | 8:00 pm
Thirteen is a difficult age. I know this as a parent, and I also know it as a rabbi who interacts with lots of 13-year-olds. I know this as well as a student of Torah. And now I know it as a moviegoer.
Every parent should see the movie "Thirteen." If you are the parent of an...
May 15, 2003 | 8:00 pm
This week's Torah portion is called "Behar" because it begins "The Lord spoke to Moses behar (on Mount [Sinai]). Upon reflection, something seems out of order. We left Mount Sinai in the Book of Exodus.
Most of the laws in the Book of Leviticus were revealed in the Tent of Meeting....
February 27, 2003 | 7:00 pm
Our Torah portion begins after a tragedy -- the tragedy of the golden calf. Moses assembles the entire Israelite community in order to renew the covenant between God and Israel. Vayakel -- "and he brought them together" -- he made them one community.
It is not so easy to be one...
December 12, 2002 | 7:00 pm
For many of us, this season is marked by being with families and sharing our family stories. In the Torah cycle it is the time of the year that we read the powerful story of a family of brothers, a story about forgiveness and reconciliation. Buried in this story about brothers is a...
August 22, 2002 | 8:00 pm
This summer, I had a reunion with female cousins who are all my age. We live all around the country, so we hardly ever see each other. Remembering the little girls we once were, and discovering the women we've become, was really amazing.
Here we were together again, no longer...
October 23, 1997 | 8:00 pm
"I am sure," said Sinai Temple's Rabbi DavidWolpe in his Rosh Hashanah sermon, "that in almost every pulpit inAmerica from whatever denomination rabbis are speaking about theterrible strife we are enduring -- Jew against Jew, as well as Jewagainst Arab -- in the Land of Israel." ...
October 9, 1997 | 8:00 pmLeft to right, panelist Rabbi Elliott Dorff of University ofJudaism, Rabbi Lisa Edwards of Beth Chayim Chadashim, moderator MarkLevine, panelist Rabbi Leila Gal Berner and lawyer and AIDS activistDavid Rephun, the panelist from an Orthodox background. Below,panelist Rabbi Allen...
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