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Jewish Journal

Tag: Rabbi Avivah W. Erlick

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  • Torah portion: The blessing of peace

    June 15, 2016 | 11:31 am

    If you could give another person the ultimate blessing, what would it be?

    The word “blessing” is a tricky one because it has so many meanings. Our medieval Portuguese commentator Abravanel spells out at least four — three that occur in Judaism and one that does not. 

    A blessing...

  • Accepting the end

    March 7, 2016 | 11:16 am

    The hospice patient, an innovative leader in his profession, was in his last moments of life. His eyes rolled back into his head, and his breath began to catch in his throat. His devoted wife was not ready for him to go. She climbed up onto his bed, grabbed him by the lapels of his...

  • Torah portion: Your body is a temple

    February 10, 2016 | 11:36 am

    I am a rabbi and a chaplain. I once had a hospital patient respond to that introduction by saying, “So you’re Jewish and Christian?” This points to how little is known about this thing called “chaplaincy” and how hard I must work to explain it, wherever I go. 

    The word “chaplain”...

  • Torah portion: That precious moment

    September 24, 2015 | 10:34 am

    When I was pregnant with my daughter, some two decades ago, I fell in love with the idea of a natural childbirth, one without drugs or surgery. I read testimonials from women who described their natural deliveries that were followed by a beautiful time of bonding together with...

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  • Torah portion: The light of truth

    January 21, 2015 | 11:11 am

    I received an email from a website called Growing Bolder (growingbolder.com) consisting of images of people who have continued to attain wonderful achievements into their later years. These are people in their 80s, 90s and even 100s who are triathletes, surfers, artists, rodeo...

  • Torah portion: Must enlightenment hurt?

    July 23, 2014 | 11:08 am

    I visit a hospice patient whom I would call a sage. All the folks from my hospice who visit him marvel at his sweetness, the depth of his spirituality, and his ability to enjoy and engage each of us distinctly.

    His illness has progressed to the point that he is now severely...

  • Baseless discontent

    June 4, 2014 | 10:17 am

    I like to have a derash in my pocket with an addiction/recovery theme when I visit Jewish inmates in the county jail, and I’ve got to tell you, Beha’alotecha is the perfect one to do this. 

    Found in the book of Numbers, this parasha features a memorable scene in which the...

  • Torah portion: He is pure, she is pure

    March 26, 2014 | 10:41 am

    Many people think the description in this week’s parasha, Tazria, of how the High Priest should treat lepers — by evicting them from the camp of Israel with a ritual, and accepting them back with another once they’ve healed — is so archaic as to make studying it absurd. The ancient...

  • Hardship and rebirth: Parashat Beshalach (Exodus 13:17-17:16)

    January 23, 2013 | 3:56 pm

    In these dark, cold days of winter, it’s so easy to lose hope. Add to this the hardships of loss, with which life seems intent on liberally sprinkling our lives, and we get something akin to paralysis. We may feel like a tree in winter, shorn of its leaves, standing still like...

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