Our special guest today is Rabbi Uri Regev, President and CEO of Hiddush, a trans-denominational nonprofit organization which is aimed at promoting religious freedom and equality in Israel. Prior to his work at Hiddush, Rabbi Regev served for seven years as President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, a global umbrella organization of the Progressive, Reform, Liberal and Reconstructionist movements, serving more than 1,200 congregations and communities in 42 countries on six continents. Rabbi Regev has also served on the boards of many other major Jewish organizations, including the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency, Rabbis for Human Rights, and B'tselem, the organization monitoring human rights in the occupied territories, of which he is a founding member. Rabbi Regev is a Cum Laude graduate of Tel Aviv Law School and of the Hebrew Union College-Institute of Religion in Jerusalem, where he was ordained in 1986.
This Week's Torah portion- Parashat Matot-Massei (Numbers 30:2-36:13)- begins with Moses presenting the heads of the tribes with rules concerning the annulment of vows. War is waged against Midian and the Torah lists the different spoils Israel took hold of in their victory and describes how they are distributed. The tribes of Gad, Reuben and half of Menashe ask Moses for the territory East of the Jordan as their portion of the promised land, and Moses eventually agrees on the condition that they first help conquering the west part West of the Jordan. The boundaries of the Promised Land are stated, and cities of refuge are designated as havens for people who commit inadvertent murder. The portion ends with the story of the daughters of Tzelafchad marrying men of their own tribe (Menashe) in order to keep the estate which they inherited from their father within their own tribe.