Our special guest this week is Rabbi Richard Block, Senior Rabbi of The Temple - Tifereth Israel, Cleveland, OH, and President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the rabbinic leadership organization of Reform Judaism which represents more than 2000 rabbis in North America and beyond. Rabbi Block previously served as President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Am, Los Altos Hills, CA, and as Rabbi of Greenwich Reform Synagogue, CT. Prior to his rabbinical studies, Block graduated with honors from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. He was a law clerk to a US District Court judge and served on active duty in the US Navy's Judge Advocate General's Corps, including a term as a Special Assistant US Attorney in San Diego and on the faculty of the Naval Justice School in Newport, RI. Rabbi Block is also a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, where he writes about religious matters.
This week's Torah portion- Parashat Nitzavim/Vayelech (Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30)- begins with Moses gathering the people of Israel to enter them into a covenant with God. Moses then warns of the great desolation that will befall them if they stray from the covenant, but he assures them that if they repent God will bring them back together again from the ends of the world. The portion continues to talk about free-choice and repentance, and tells of Moses passing on his leadership to Joshua.