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Tag: Torah

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  • From Pharaoh to Freud: The Bible’s Ultimate Id

    By Jared Sichel

    April 17, 2014 | 10:23 am

    It's up there in the annals of stupidity.

    God had just undone Egyptian society with 10 devastating plagues, striking at the heart of Egypt's various nature gods. Water turned to blood. Animals turned against humans. Light stopped working. Pharaoh's Egyptian experiment, for all...

  • Believing is Seeing (Exodus 33:12-34:26)

    April 16, 2014 | 2:57 pm

    The reading for Shabbat Chol HaMoed, the Sabbath of the intermediate days of Pesach (and Sukkot), describes one of the more exciting moments in Torah: the closest encounter any human has with God.

    Following the sin of the Golden Calf and Moses’ advocacy for the people, he makes a...

  • Acharei Mot: Cleansing Past Misdeeds

    By Beit T'shuvah

    April 11, 2014 | 11:39 am

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    My brother Neal called me this morning and suggested I write about a character from this week's Torah Portion. It is the "Ish Ati," the man who takes the goat for Azazel out to the wilderness. Since I didn't write about it in my weekly Torah Drash, I...

  • Become the sanctuary: Parashat Tzav (Leviticus 6:1-8:36)

    March 12, 2014 | 3:46 pm

    Where is God, and what does the Holy One want from us? These timeless questions animate so many of us spiritual seekers. 

    Of course, there are better places to look for an answer than in this week’s Torah portion, Tzav, unless you consider barbecuing as divine service. If you...

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  • Women and Torah: Masking words

    By David Suissa

    March 12, 2014 | 12:32 pm

    Especially during this time of year, when many of us disguise ourselves for the holiday of Purim, the idea of masks is usually associated with people. Even in politics and everyday life, we talk of people masking their real intentions or hiding behind a façade.

    But in Judaism,...

  • Purim: There’s something about Esther

    By Rabbi Daniel Bouskila

    March 12, 2014 | 11:45 am

    If I were assigned the task of writing a biblical-style script for a play or a movie, the Book of Esther is the last place I would turn for inspiration. The word “biblical” conjures up images of God, prophets, dreams, visions and supernatural miracles — all of which are strikingly...

  • The Charedi protests: A response to David Suissa

    March 12, 2014 | 9:39 am

    [David Suissa: Charedim should start with ‘thank you’  /
    Knesset passes Charedi draft law / Community response]

    I consider myself a friend of David Suissa. I like what he is about, trying to bring disparate segments of our Jewish community together. That is precisely why I feel...

  • Seeing Yourself in Torah

    By Beit T'shuvah

    March 7, 2014 | 1:08 pm

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    With the opening of our new space at 8847 Venice Blvd., I have been thinking about how I got to where I am in life from where I was some 26+ years ago. I was locked up for the 2nd time and all I had was a Prayer Book and a Chumash, a book with the entire...

  • After bruising Iran sanctions battle, AIPAC conference is all about comity

    March 4, 2014 | 11:40 am

    You’ve got your rousing church choir, your multi-denominational trio of rabbis quoting Torah, your montages of Israelis and Palestinians coming together and, above all, your pleas to please, please, please be nice to one another.

    Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative, Jew,...

  • Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks spends a weekend in L.A. envisioning the Jewish future

    By Jared Sichel

    February 26, 2014 | 4:07 pm

    Swiping his finger to the left, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Britain’s now-former chief rabbi, and arguably the world’s most prominent religious Jewish leader, was looking for a text he felt might show how Orthodox Jews can spread a Jewish message to the Western world.

    He wasn’t...

  • Living an Examined Life

    By Beit T'shuvah

    February 14, 2014 | 12:57 pm

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    As I sit here, this morning, at my computer I am thinking about an article written in The Catholic Agitator by Dr. Cornel West about Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker. Dorothy Day is a hero of my wife, Harriet Rossetto and an extraordinary...

  • A Coming Out Tale: Getting Over My Embarrassment and Calling Myself Religious

    By Tamara Shayne Kagel

    February 12, 2014 | 12:30 pm

    I have always been cagey when detailing information about myself that might classify me as religious.  Not that I was ever embarrassed or cryptic about telling people I was Jewish.  Telling people I was Jewish when people asked what my Christmas plans were, or just offering up the...

  • What is Holiness?

    By Salvador Litvak

    February 9, 2014 | 5:31 pm

    [Remarks delivered Shabbat morning in the Library Minyan, Los Angeles, Feb. 8, 2014 – 8 Adar I, 5774]

    Good Shabbos!

    What is holiness? What does it mean to be holy? I have wrestled with this question ever since I found my way back to Judaism 16 years ago.

    This week’s Torah...

  • Will God have a say in Super Sunday outcome?

    January 28, 2014 | 3:48 pm

    Rabbi Daniel Alter expects some added fervency during daily prayer services at the Denver Academy of Torah in the days leading up to the Super Bowl.

    Alter, the academy’s head of school, recalls that when the Colorado Rockies faced the Boston Red Sox in the 2007 World Series, his...

  • Down-to-Earth Sinai: Parashat Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1-24:18)

    By Rabbi Laura Geller

    January 23, 2014 | 3:06 pm

    I just returned from a four-day alumni retreat for rabbis and cantors who had taken part in an Institute for Jewish Spirituality program designed to deepen our own spiritual commitments. During this two-year program we studied Chasidic texts in a weekly telephone chavruta and...

  • Giving Voice: Parashat Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23)

    By Rabbi Lisa Edwards

    January 16, 2014 | 2:16 pm

    Someone came to me in tears. “Too much yelling,” he said. “My boyfriend yells at me, my boss yells at me, even my father still yells at me.” 

    We talked about how yelling doesn’t achieve what the yellers want to achieve. We talked about the knot he gets in his stomach when the...

  • After much searching, she finds hope in adopted faith

    By Kylie Jane Wakefield

    January 3, 2014 | 3:20 pm

    Growing up in Colorado, Laura Waller wasn’t raised with a religion. She knew nothing about Judaism, save for the Torah — which she read as a teenager — and her community’s negative attitudes toward it.

    “I didn’t exactly grow up in a town where being Jewish was acceptable,” she...

  • Justice and freedom: Parashat Shemot (Exodus 1:1-6:1)

    By Rav Yosef Kanefsky

    December 18, 2013 | 4:52 pm

    Upon arriving in Egypt, fresh from his encounter with God at the burning bush, Moshe enlists his brother Aharon as well as the elders of Israel to confront Pharaoh. Together, representing the united leadership of the Hebrews, they would demand their freedom, or at very least that...

  • B’nai Mitzvah revolution

    By Julie Bien

    December 18, 2013 | 4:11 pm

    At Temple Kol Tikvah in Woodland Hills, the Torah has left the building — not permanently, but as part of a new ritual of sending the holy scroll home with a child the night before his or her bar or bat mitzvah. 

    The Reform congregation’s Rabbi Jonathan Hanish said the...

  • Damaged Torahs found in Iraq buried in N.Y.

    December 17, 2013 | 10:30 am

    Damaged Torah scrolls found by U.S. troops in Iraq’s intelligence headquarters were buried in a New York cemetery.

    The burial took place Sunday at the New Montefiore Cemetery in West Babylon, Long Island, The Associated Press reported. More than 100 people attended the ceremony...

  • Encounters with the past: Parashat Vayigash (Genesis 44:18-47:27)

    December 4, 2013 | 4:27 pm

    Why is this book club different from all other book clubs? I know this phrase is out of season, but the strange confluence of holidays this year permits some flexibility. As my Torah study cohorts and I again engage with the page-turner of all page-turners, the Joseph story, I am...

  • Blind Spot: Parashat Vayeshev (Genesis 37:1-40:23)

    November 20, 2013 | 4:16 pm

    “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts; the entire earth is filled with his glory” (Isaiah 6:30). 

    If Isaiah is correct, with every step we take, with every breath we draw, we cannot help but encounter God’s glory. And yet who among us is constantly aware of this fact, this daily...

  • Shabbat Shalom to the Angels Among Us

    November 8, 2013 | 8:27 am

    This Shabbat, Jews all over the world will read the Torah portion Vayetze. It's a great portion - they all are, of course, but this one really is especially rich. We meet Leah and Rachel, and watch as their father's trickery ensures Jacob will marry both. We celebrate the births of...

  • No faith, no Jewish future

    By Dennis Prager

    November 6, 2013 | 1:27 pm

    In my last column, I suggested a number of reasons for the rise of Orthodox Judaism and the decline in membership among non-Orthodox denominations. 

    In this column, I would like to discuss one important reason that often goes unnoted.

    That reason is faith — not only faith in...

  • Arguing Like Abraham

    November 5, 2013 | 9:22 am

    I facilitated a parenting discussion this past weekend, which is one of my favorite things to do (besides hanging out with my family and - shamefully - watching Vampire Diaries after the kids have gone to bed). We talked about why our children should be helping around the house,...

  • The wells of peace: Parashat Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:9)

    By Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater

    October 30, 2013 | 12:59 pm

    Wells, water, history and peace. Seems like as much as the world changes, advances and develops, some things remain intact, remain essential to our future. In the midst of this week’s parasha, Toldot, within the stories of familial strife among Isaac, Rebecca and their twin sons,...

  • Why Orthodoxy is growing

    By Dennis Prager

    October 23, 2013 | 11:58 am

    As almost every Jew knows by now, according to major reports on American Jewry — such as the most recent and most highly regarded Pew report — Orthodoxy is growing, while Conservative and Reform Judaism are shrinking. 

    Before presenting my explanations, I think it important to...

  • Reboot unscrolls a modern take on Torah

    By Danielle Berrin

    October 23, 2013 | 11:36 am

    Reboot, the highly selective Jewish think-tank that invites “young, Jewishly unconnected cultural creatives” to imagine ways of modernizing and revitalizing Jewish tradition, has unfurled its latest effort with “Unscrolled,” a compendium of divrei Torah written by popular artists...

  • In the face of strangers: Parashat Vayera (Genesis 18:1-22:24)

    By Rabbi Laura Geller

    October 16, 2013 | 12:18 pm

    This week’s Torah portion begins: “YHVH appeared to Abraham as he was sitting at the entrance of the tent … looking up, he saw: behold, three men standing opposite him. As soon as he saw them he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them, and bowing down to the ground he said:...

  • Will Deutsch: Drawing on Jewish culture

    By Avishay Artsy

    October 16, 2013 | 11:51 am

    What’s considered “Jewish art” often includes a Marc Chagall print. Maybe some abstract metal sculptures resembling a menorah or Star of David. Or a painting of Orthodox Jewish men dancing with a Torah or playing klezmer music.

    This is the art that Will Deutsch grew up around,...

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