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  • Family problems? Turn to Genesis

    By Dennis Prager

    September 24, 2013 | 10:59 am

    If you have family problems, there is a book that can provide a good deal of consolation. That book, you might be surprised to learn, is the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Torah.

    Genesis makes it abundantly clear that you are not alone, that what we now call dysfunctional...

  • The camel’s nose and the Torah’s tent

    By Roger Price

    May 23, 2013 | 3:10 pm

         For those who hold that the Bible, and particularly the Torah, is the Word of God, without flaw and inerrant, the last few hundred years have been very frustrating. The development of the Documentary Hypothesis, the idea that the Torah was a compilation of works from several...

  • How Do We Relate to Morally Difficult Texts in the Jewish Tradition?

    By Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

    February 24, 2013 | 11:16 am

    We have all become familiar with the tactics of bigots who distort our religious beliefs or make up horrible lies to advance their hatred. Fortunately, most people in our pluralistic society recognize and reject these tactics.

    But how would we respond to a skeptic who points to...

  • Measure for measure: Parashat Miketz (Genesis 41:1-44:17)

    December 12, 2012 | 2:19 pm

    There are a good many details about the Joseph narratives that elude ready explanation. We absorb them readily and ignore them just as readily. What bearing do they have on Joseph or his brothers? They seem of no connection with the past or with the future. It is fair to claim all...

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  • Jacob’s stand: Parashat Vayishlach (Genesis 32:4-36:43)

    November 28, 2012 | 11:42 am

    Jacob returns to Canaan, where 20 years earlier he fled his brother Esau’s wrath after stealing his birthright. But time does not seem to have healed the wound. Esau comes to greet him with 400 men, an army. Apparently, he will fulfill his 20-year-old intention to kill Jacob.

    ...
  • Never alone

    By Rabbi Dov Fischer

    November 20, 2012 | 9:46 am

    In this week’s parasha, Yaakov flees for his life, departing from Beersheva back to Charan — back to the beginning. How optimistic it had been when Avraham came to Israel two generations earlier, abandoning Charan presumably forever (Genesis 11:32-12:6). Avraham “went, took and...

  • Balance between

    October 10, 2012 | 4:41 pm

    Readers long have been challenged by the blatant contradictions between the first two chapters of Genesis. In chapter 1, the creation of animals precedes people; in chapter 2, the order is reversed. In chapter 1, a single, androgynous Adam came into being; in chapter 2, Adam and...

  • Unloading the emotional U-Haul

    By Rabbi Lisa Edwards

    January 4, 2012 | 1:02 pm

    A funeral director once said, “In all the funerals I’ve attended, I have yet to see a hearse with a U-Haul trailer attached.” But while it’s true that “you can’t take it with you,”meaning material possessions, I’m not so sure about emotional possessions. How many of...

  • Vayeshev Yaakov (Genesis 37:1-40:23)

    By Rabbi Anne Brener

    December 14, 2011 | 10:51 am

    I had a dream shortly after I arrived in Los Angeles in 1981 to study at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s (HUC-JIR) School of Jewish Communal Service.

    I revisit that dream frequently, discovering new meanings as my self-awareness evolves. In the dream, I stood...

  • Gateway to awakening

    By Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater

    November 29, 2011 | 5:29 pm

    I love to be out in nature: hiking, camping, exploring the woods, sitting by a rushing river, listening to the sounds of the birds and other wildlife. I am blessed, like many of us in Southern California, to live within walking distance of amazing natural surroundings — in my case,...

  • Unique Capabilities: Parashat Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32)

    By Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater

    October 26, 2011 | 5:39 pm

    There are places in the Torah where many of us moderns have a hard time relating to our ancestors and the societies in which they lived. Oppression of women, slavery, animal sacrifice, a God that intervenes and directs our lives in a forceful and immediate way, to name a few. This...

  • Occupy Genesis

    By Rabbi Yonah Bookstein

    October 19, 2011 | 12:43 pm

    The story of creation begins again this week in synagogues around the world. The Jewish people make a global reset and roll back our Torah scrolls. Fresh and new, our world is set in motion with organic divine harmony, only to be disrupted by human folly. 

    This annual cosmic rewind...

  • Curses and Blessings

    December 14, 2010 | 11:29 pm

    “Gather, assemble yourselves and let me tell you what will become of you in the end of days,” Jacob says to his sons. These are the closing moments of the book of Bereshit (Genesis), and of all the portions in Bereshit, none is more poetic and none more opaque than Vayechi.

    ...
  • Milken JCC hires new director; Heschel West receives US.gov award

    October 9, 2008 | 11:45 pm

    Milken JCC Hires New Executive Director, Finalizes Strategic Plan for Improvements

    Paul Frishman, a 22-year veteran of the Jewish Community Center movement, has been tapped as the new executive director of The New JCC at Milken. He officially began Sept. 2.

    Frishman, 45, spent the...

  • A Building of Wisdom

    By Rabbi Daniel Bouskila

    February 28, 2008 | 5:00 pm

    How do we build a House of God? How do we achieve the spiritual mandate that God placed upon the community when asking of them to build the Mishkan, the dwelling place of God? Anybody who serves a community as its spiritual leader understands that the nature of my question has little...
  • What is valuable?

    By Rabbi Debra Orenstein

    February 21, 2008 | 5:00 pm

    I am blessed that my children generally get along well. Now that they are 3 1/2 and 1 1/2, however, they do tussle over toys. A few times, my son, the elder, has screamed the toddler credo -- "It's mine!" -- right in his sister's face.

    In light of such indignation, I reminded them...

  • More than skin deep

    By Rabbi Karen Deitsch

    February 14, 2008 | 5:00 pm

    A holy day approaches: a day of judgment. Mundane activity will cease as we hearken to the call for worship in awe and reverence. Echoing from high-definition flat screens across the land: the not-so-still, not-so-small voice of Reb Joan Rivers will usher in the sacrosanct festival...
  • Internalizing the concept of history

    By Rabbi Haim Ovadia

    January 3, 2008 | 7:00 pm

    If you were paying attention during Genesis, the opening statement of this week's parsha may be perplexing: "And God (Elohim) spoke to Moses and told him: I am Adonai, I have appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as El Shaddai, but I did not make myself known to them by my name...
  • Brotherly Love

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    December 13, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    With Chanukah recent history, I came across a fascinating review of a new book, "The Business of Holidays." The book's editor, Maud Lavin, notes that 81 percent of U.S. households celebrate Christmas with a tree in their homes, and not everybody is Christian. The line between...
  • Right or Righteous?

    By Rabbi Debra Orenstein

    November 29, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    Have you ever dealt with someone who insisted s/he was right -- even smugly so -- while actually being objectively, measurably and completely wrong?

    Now, let me ask a tougher question: Have you ever been that person? If so, you are in good -- and plentiful -- company.

    In this...

  • Own your problems

    By Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky

    November 22, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    Jacob's route, as he returns from his uncle's home in the land of Haran to his parent's home in the land of Canaan, does not take him anywhere near the territory of Esau. His brother has already moved his growing tribe to the land of Edom, well to the south of anywhere Jacob would be...
  • Present Perfection

    By Rabbi Karen Deitsch

    November 15, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    I overslept this morning. I woke up an hour after I was expected to teach. Lost in a barrage of self-punishing thoughts and assumptions of dire consequences, I panicked aimlessly, still wearing my pajamas, thinking of ways to fix it. I was in the darkness of a wakeful nightmare: the...
  • Stuck in the middle

    By Rabbi Daniel Bouskila

    November 8, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    My name is Isaac. You think you know me, but you really don't. I am stuck in between two generations, constantly overshadowed by my father, Abraham, and my son, Jacob. If you ask anyone to name the nation that eventually came from my family, they either refer to them as "the...
  • Troublesome numbers

    By Rabbi Haim Ovadia

    November 1, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    The most fascinating, intriguing and philosophically engaging book of the Tanakh (if we are allowed to indulge in ratings) is undoubtedly the first one -- Bereshit, or Genesis. It tackles questions of creation and destiny, society and government, as well as the different facets of...
  • Sleepovers for Strangers

    By Rabbi Dov Fischer

    October 25, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Patriarch Avraham sits outdoors, in front of his tent, recovering from his recent circumcision. Hashem visits with him, teaching and modeling for us the mitzvah of bikkur cholim -- visiting the sick.

    We are commanded to walk in Hashem's ways, as the Talmud teaches in Sotah 14a....

  • Setting out to look within

    By Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater

    October 18, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    A 40-year-old British man named Jason Lewis recently completed a circumnavigation of the globe using only human power. He journeyed more than 46,000 miles around the world using a bicycle, pedal boat, kayak, rollerblades and his own two feet. He kayaked or pedaled across oceans and...
  • U CAN HAZ BIBLE

    By JewishJournal.com

    October 14, 2007 | 6:23 pm

    The Internets seem to generate phresh pop culture phenoms on a regular basis. The dancing baby, the Kiss Me Turk, All Your Base Belong to Us, and Chris Crocker (who inspired our immensely popular YouTube video “Leave Israel Alone”) are just a few.

    One of this year’s most visited Web...

  • Picking up the pieces

    By Rabbi N. Daniel Korobkin

    October 11, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    "The Sabbath Day: One should not forget it;
    Its memory is like a savory fragrance.
    The dove found respite on it [the Sabbath],
    And on it the weary of spirit shall rest."
    -- Translated from "Yom Shabbaton," Shabbat Zemirot liturgy, composed by R' Judah HaLevi (d. 1140)
    The dove...
  • Four simple words

    By Rabbi Karen Deitsch

    October 4, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    "Because, I said so!" Four simple words effectively restore order when alternative tactics for ending the cacophony of whys or pleases have not. This declaration can render the most persistent young kvetchers powerless against their authority's final say on the matter.

    Considered...

  • Whither the First Born?

    By Rabbi Joel Rembaum

    January 4, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    One can learn a great deal about how not to parent by reading the stories of the dysfunctional matriarchal/patriarchal families that comprise a substantial proportion of the narrative in Genesis. One pattern that generates much pain for the dramatis personae of the first book of...
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