Our guest this week is Rabbi Danny Burkeman, Rabbi at the Community Synagogue at Port Washington, NY. Rabbi Burkeman was born and raised in London, England and received his BA in History and Theology from Cambridge University. Following university, he worked as an educator in the British Jewish community and studied for his Masters in Jewish Christian relations (which he completed in 2008). After his ordination from the Hebrew Union College, Rabbi Burkeman moved back to London, where he became an Associate Rabbi at West London Synagogue (Britain’s oldest Reform congregation). Rabbi Burkeman is currently a member of the World Union for Progressive Judaism Executive Board and a CLAL Rabbis Without Borders Fellow. He has a weekly podcast Two Minutes of Torah (available on iTunes) and is a regular columnist for The Jewish News of England (a weekly national newspaper).
This week's Torah portion - Parashat Behar (Leviticus 25:1-26:2) - talks about Sabbatical and Jubilee years, regulations concerning commerce and the redemption of slaves. It also contains a description of the rewards for observing God's commandments and the series of punishments that will face Israel if they choose to disregard them. Our discussion focuses, among other things, on the meaning behind the laws concerning sabbatical years, which show the people of Israel the limits of their ownership of the land.
If you would like to learn some more about parashat Behar, take a look at our conversation with Rabbi Asher Lopatin.