Our special guest today is Rabbi Sharon Brous, founding Rabbi of IKAR, one of the fastest growing Jewish communities in the US. Rabbi Brous was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2001 and received a Master’s Degree in Human Rights from Columbia University, where she also received her Bachelor’s Degree. Before creating IKAR in 2004, she served as a Rabbinic Fellow at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in NYC.
In 2013 Brous was chosen to bless President Obama at the Inaugural National Prayer Service. She sits on the faculty of the Hartman Institute-North America, Wexner Heritage and REBOOT. She serves on the board of Teruah-The Rabbinic Call to Human Rights- and is a rabbinic advisor to the American Jewish World Service and to Bend the Arc. Rabbi Brous received the Lives of Commitment Award from Auburn Theological Seminary, was a JWI Woman to Watch and was the inaugural recipient of the Inspired Leadership Award from the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles.
This week's torah portion- Parashat Chukat (Numbers 19:1-22:1)- Features the death of Aaron and Miriam, brother and sister of Moses, and the famous story of Moses striking the stone.
After 40 years of wandering in the desert, the people of Israel arrive at the wilderness of Zin, where Miriam dies and gets buried. As the people become thirsty God tells Moses to order a rock to yield water. After Moses strikes the rock twice, God punishes him by denying him entrance to the land of Israel. Aaron dies at and is succeeded by his son Elazar who becomes the new High Priest. After the people speak against God and Moses, snakes attack the Israelite camp. God tells Moses to put a brass serpent on a high pole, and says that whoever will gaze at it will be healed. Moses subsequently leads the people in battles against the Emorite kings Sichon and Og and conquers their lands, which lie east of the river Jordan.