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Jewish Journal

Tag: Torah

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  • Entering the Promised Land:  The Blessing and Curse of Memory.

    By Dr. Afshine Emrani

    2 weeks ago

    You arrive at my office with your fiancé.  You have never traveled together.  You sit on a sofa and I turn off the lights.  The projector shows the two of you dining in Paris, climbing Everest, crossing the Nile, zip-lining in Africa, paragliding in Australia.  As you walk out,...

  • Sermons slammed to celebrate Sinai

    By Esther D. Kustanowitz

    3 weeks ago

    Becoming ourselves is a process. We learn what our family or friends find funny or valuable, and shape our identities accordingly, either to conform to, or in opposition to those norms and expectations. Teachers help us acquire skills, the basics of contemporary education, text...
  • Black, white and nameless: Parashat Beha’alotecha (Numbers 8:1-12:16)

    June 3, 2015 | 1:43 pm

    And Miriam spoke, and Aaron, against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married: For he had married a Cushite woman” (Numbers 12:1).

    Of the one woman, we know much; of the other, we know very little. 

    Of Miriam, the prophetess, we are familiar with her deeds in...

  • On Shavuot, remembering the day I almost dropped the Torah

    May 22, 2015 | 10:48 am

    On Shavuot, we are reminded that the Torah is a tree of life to which we are to hold fast. But what happens when that hold slips from your grasp?

    It’s a question I found myself asking six weeks before Shavuot, late in the Torah service on the last day of Passover.

    Returning...

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  • Navigating grief’s wilderness: Parashat Bamidbar (Numbers 1:1-4:20)

    By Rabbi Anne Brener

    May 21, 2015 | 4:26 pm

    “You must make yourself like a wilderness in order to receive the Torah” (Bamidbar Rabbah 19:26).

    This week’s parsha, Bamidbar, begins the Book of the Wilderness, more commonly known as the Book of Numbers. We return to the narrative of the journey from Egypt to the Promised...

  • On Shavuot, reopening the book

    May 21, 2015 | 12:28 pm

    On Shavuot, which this year falls on May 23, we celebrate the day that we received the Torah on Mount Sinai more than 3,300 years ago. Think about that. Every year, we celebrate receiving the exact same book, or, more precisely, re-receiving the exact same Torah. But if I possess...

  • Western Wall barriers locked to prevent women from getting Torah scroll

    May 19, 2015 | 9:59 am

    A male supporter of Women of the Wall was arrested after trying to pass a Torah scroll to the women’s section of the Western Wall during prayers for the new Jewish month.

    The partitions separating the men’s and women’s sections were locked together and metal barriers placed...

  • Shavuot: Bridging the Unbridgeable Chasm

    May 15, 2015 | 12:28 pm

    Shavuot is a short holiday – one day in Israel, two in the Diaspora. There is no special mitzvah connected to it. And, at least in theory, it has no fixed date. Shavuot is completely dependent on Passover, which precedes it, and is celebrated only after the counting of seven weeks....

  • Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Parashat Behar-Bechukotai with Rabbi Aaron Rubinger

    By Shmuel Rosner

    May 15, 2015 | 3:22 am

    Our guest this week is Rabbi Aaron Rubinger, Senior Rabbi of the Ohev Shalom congregation in Orlando, Florida. Rabbi Rubinger is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Brandeis University. He has a Master’s  degree in Ancient History from UCLA, and he was ordained at the Jewish Theological...

  • Design a tallit as unique as they are

    May 14, 2015 | 5:43 pm

    Prayer shawls, or tallitot, have long been an important part of Jewish ritual tradition. Although the date of their first appearance is unknown, Torah dictates that we wear fringes (tzitzit) on the four corners of a garment (Numbers 15:37-41) to remind us of God’s commandments....

  • 300+ Rabbis Sign activist “Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis”:  Encouraged by Pope Francis

    By Rabbi Arthur Waskow

    May 14, 2015 | 8:08 am

    More than 300 rabbis have signed a Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis, calling for vigorous action to prevent worsening climate disruption, to seek eco-social justice, and to shape a world f shared sustainable abundance..

    We are delighted to share the news of this major and...

  • Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Parashat Emor with Rabbi Steven Engel

    By Shmuel Rosner

    May 8, 2015 | 3:13 am

    Our guest this week is Rabbi Steven Engel, leader of the Congregation of Reform Judaism in Orlando, Florida. Rabbi Engel received a B.A. in Physics from Rutgers University, a Masters of Arts in Hebrew Letters from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los...

  • Don’t Just Stand There — Do Something Holy

    By Rabbi Yonah Bookstein

    May 1, 2015 | 12:59 pm

    “You shall not stand by [the shedding of] your fellow's blood. I am Hashem.”

    Lev. 19:16 I was driving on cold morning down the highway in New Jersey and a car ahead of me suddenly veered left, went off the road, and then careened back across the highway. The car crossed some...

  • Alden solovy, wounded but still defending women of the wall

    By Aron Chilewich

    April 30, 2015 | 8:34 am

    In 2013, an Israeli court ruling gave women the legal right to pray at the Western Wall according to their own customs; they could wear tallit , use tefillin and read from Torah. However, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the Orthodox chief rabbi of the wall, found a simple loophole: By...

  • At seder, don’t bite the hand that serves

    By Rabbi David Wolpe

    April 2, 2015 | 3:47 pm

    At your seder, you just might be the Egyptian.

    Consider what it means to be an Israelite and an Egyptian in the Passover story. The Israelites have no power and are at the whim of those they serve. And what about the Egyptians? They have all the power, but their morality is...

  • Is this really the Torah God gave Moses at Sinai? (Part 2)

    By Roger Price

    March 26, 2015 | 2:58 pm

    The idea that 3300 years ago, at Sinai, God gave Moses a Torah identical to the Torah we have today is a powerful concept, one that still resonates. But is it probable, even plausible?

    Previously, to explore this idea, we have taken the text of the Torah as we have it today and...

  • At a breaking point in Turkey: Should Jews stay or should we go?

    By Simone Wilson

    March 18, 2015 | 3:55 pm

    The gold and gray city of Istanbul spent Valentine’s Day bracing for snow. Under angry clouds, Turkish couples huddled around tabletops in the cafe quarter of Ortakoy, a historically posh neighborhood along the Bosphorus Strait. Jewelry-makers had set up stands along the alleyways...

  • Is this really the Torah God gave Moses at Sinai? (Part 1)

    By Roger Price

    February 25, 2015 | 10:14 am

    The Torah is the foundational text of the Jewish People. Initially, it asserts a pre-history and a purpose of the ancient Judahite kingdom to which contemporary Jews trace their emotional and often actual genetic origin, setting forth the kingdom’s legends and lore, its poetry and...

  • Where God is Depends on Us

    By Rabbi Yonah Bookstein

    February 20, 2015 | 1:33 pm

    When children ask us, “Where is God?”  We usually tell them that “God is everywhere.”

    It's a beautiful answer, completely true, but it doesn't help when you are older. When we see what goes on in the world, we often ask ourselves the very same question, “Where is God?” The truth...

  • Acting With Godliness

    By Rabbi Yonah Bookstein

    February 13, 2015 | 4:13 pm

    The Torah tells us in Parsha Mishpatim, “Distance yourself from falsehood." (Ex. 23:7) No other transgression, said Rabbi Simcha Bunim, has this commandment. What it is about falsehood that God is so concerned about us falling into?

    There is the obvious problems that lying can...

  • The King David exchange, part 3: ‘The biblical text always has an agenda’

    By Shmuel Rosner

    February 11, 2015 | 3:54 am

    Joel Baden is Professor of Hebrew Bible at the Yale Divinity School. He holds degrees in Judaic Studies (BA, Yale), Semitic Languages (MA, University of Chicago), and Hebrew Bible (PhD, Harvard). He specializes in the literary history of the Hebrew Bible, particularly of the...

  • Tikkun Olam isn’t in the Torah: it’s liberal orthodoxy, not Jewish Orthodoxy

    December 10, 2014 | 1:42 pm

    To thunderous applause, President Barack Obama described himself in a March 2013 Jerusalem speech as “a man who’s been inspired in my own life by that timeless calling within the Jewish experience – tikkun olam… the work of repairing this world.”

    Indeed, to many American Jews,...

  • Lessons of the Bible Code Controversy

    By Roger Price

    December 9, 2014 | 10:29 am

    Let’s start at the very beginning. It is, as Oscar Hammerstein once wrote, a very good place to start. Let’s go to the biblical book of Genesis, or, more specifically, to the Hebrew text of it, known as B’reishit, and look at the first four verses.  Let’s start with the first word...

  • The few. The proud.
    The Jewish Marines.

    By Jared Sichel

    October 14, 2014 | 2:45 pm

    Sitting at the front of a small room inside a nondescript building at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Navy Lt. Aaron Kleinman was dressed in a uniform rarely seen on these grounds: On top of his gray suit, dress shirt and tie, Kleinman’s head was covered by a kippah and his...

  • Simchat Torah: Celebrating Torah’s ending and beginning

    October 14, 2014 | 10:17 am

    People are drinking, singing and dancing. It’s loud and crowded. No, you’re not at a bar — or even a bar mitzvah. It’s Simchat Torah. 

    The holiday celebrates the culmination of the year’s Torah readings and is, quite literally, a time to rejoice. 

    “I love that Simchat Torah is...

  • Rabbinic group: Women permitted to dance with Torah scroll

    October 13, 2014 | 1:39 pm

    Women are permitted to dance with a Torah scroll on the Simchat Torah holiday, an Israeli modern Orthodox rabbinical organization ruled.

    Beit Hillel posted the religious ruling on its website for the holiday, which falls on Wednesday night and Thursday.

    The ruling also...

  • What’s Your Sukkah?

    By Beit T'shuvah

    October 10, 2014 | 9:47 am

    By Rabbi Paul Steinberg

    Jews argue.  It’s written into our history; it’s written into how we approach life.  Why is that? Well, Judaism wisely understands that the truth is manifold.  A does not have to equal A.  A can be B, A can be C, or any other number of possibilities, and...

  • Should rabbis talk about Israel during the High Holy Days?

    By David Suissa

    September 23, 2014 | 4:43 pm

    On the eve of the biggest sermon days of the year, a brouhaha has erupted in the Jewish world over whether rabbis should weigh in about Israel.

    “Don’t talk about Israel,” my friend Peter Beinart wrote this week in Haaretz, addressing rabbis across America. Why? Because American...

  • The Birthday of the World and Pseudoscience

    By Roger Price

    September 18, 2014 | 1:42 pm

    Soon Jews will celebrate Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year. This year will be 5775 in the Jewish calendar.

    Rosh HaShanah, is sometimes called the “birthday of the world.” The reference is somewhat confusing, though. It does not concern the first day of creation as described in...

  • Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Parashat Ki Tetze with Rabbi Jennifer Krause

    By Shmuel Rosner

    September 5, 2014 | 4:03 am

    Our guest this week is Rabbi Jennifer Krause, the High Holy Days rabbi at Manhattan's 92nd Street Y. Rabbi Krause received her B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, MO in English Literature and Near Eastern Studies, and her Rabbinic Ordination and M.A. in Hebrew Literature...

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