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Jewish Journal

  • Torah portion: He is pure, she is pure

    by Rabbi Avivah W. Erlick

    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...

  • Torah portion: Becoming a distinguished people

    by Rabbi Michael Barclay

    March 19, 2014 | 2:08 pm

    “You shall be holy, for I am holy”

    — Leviticus 11:45

    I always find that Parashat Shemini inspires young people to ask questions. “Why did Aaron’s sons have to die?” “Why can’t I have a drink and get a little tipsy if it will help me enjoy services more?” And, of course, the...

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

    by Rabbi Paul Kipnes

    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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  • Our beastly selves: Parashat Vayikra

    by Danny Maseng

    March 5, 2014 | 11:05 am

    What is a dedicated vegetarian, who is also a believing, contemporary Jew, to make of the book of Leviticus, specifically this week’s Torah portion, Vayikra? From the very beginning of the portion, we are confronted with animal sacrifice, with grisly descriptions of blood and torn...

  • Torah portion: Bridging Judaism’s generation gap

    By Rabbi Daniel Bouskila

    February 26, 2014 | 2:43 pm

    How do we preserve tradition while simultaneously introducing new ideas? Can worldviews from the past coexist with those of the new generation? From Shabbat tables and Passover seders to public forums and debates, we find an ever-widening generation gap in the Jewish world on...

  • Torah portion: On heroes and procrastinators

    by Rabbi Dov Fischer

    February 20, 2014 | 2:47 pm

    We have devoted the past few weeks to reading God’s instructions to the nation of Israel for building the Mishkan (Tabernacle), the portable Holy Temple that will travel through the Sinai Desert with the Israelits and follow them into the Promised Land for centuries to come. By...

  • The covenant of the calf: Parashat Ki Tisa (Exodus 30:11-34:35)

    by Rabbi Yehuda Hausman

    February 12, 2014 | 5:01 pm

    If the word of God, engraved in stone, can crumble as easily as bread; if God’s voice, chiseled in rock, can shatter like a pitched dinner plate; if the children of Israel can cast off their heavenly covenant with a casualness not unlike the unclasping of an earring or a necklace;...

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