Our guest this week is Rabbi Adam Chalom, North American Dean of the IISHJ, the leadership and rabbinical training institution of the world-wide movement of Secular Humanistic Judaism, and Rabbi of Chicago’s Kol Hadash Humanistic congregation. Rabbi Chalom earned a B.A. from Yale University in Judaic Studies, and a Master’s Degree at the University of Michigan in Hebrew and Jewish Cultural Studies, Rabbinic ordination from the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism (IISHJ), and his PhD at the University of Michigan in Near Eastern Studies. Prior to joining Kol Hadash in 2004, he spent three years as co-rabbi of the Birmingham Temple.
This week's Torah Portion- Parashat Beha'alotcha (Numbers 8:1-12:15)- begins with the lighting of the menorah, then goes on to describe the cleansing of the Levites and the first celebration of Passover in the desert. The Torah subsequently describes a series of bitter complaints made by the people of Israel about life in the desert and the portion concludes with Moses' sister Miriam speaking slander about Moses to their brother Aaron and getting punished for it with a terrible skin disease. Our discussion this week focuses on the place of anger and frustration in the portion and in Israel’s life in the Sinai desert.