Tisha B'Av Observance? Learn and Decide!

Tisha B'Av Observance?  Learn and Decide!
Tisha B’Av (Ninth Day of the Month of Av) – the culmination of the "three weeks" and the saddest day of the Jewish year -- commemorates numerous tragedies in Jewish history.  It occurs this year on July 25th.... Continue Reading »

Matot-Masei: City of Refuge By the Bay

Matot-Masei: City of Refuge By the Bay
How do Torah’s “Cities of Refuge” provisions compare with San Francisco’s “Sanctuary City” law? In this week’s Torah portion, Matot-Massei, the Israelites are commanded to designate six cities of refuge to... Continue Reading »
Jul 17

Sh'lah-L'kha: Avoiding "The Jewish Disease"

Sh'lah-L'kha: Avoiding "The Jewish Disease"
“The Jewish Disease” label has been applied to a variety of aliments at various times in our history.  To name just a few, Tay-Sachs and Crohn's (by geneticists), diabetes (by physicians), mental illness (by psychologists), and s... Continue Reading »

B’haalotkha: "One Law for All" Doesn't and Shouldn't Mean That.

B’haalotkha: "One Law for All" Doesn't and Shouldn't Mean That.
Whenever I read in the Torah, as we do this week, “There shall be one law for you, whether stranger or citizen of the country,” (Numbers 9:14), I think of the U.S. Constitution.  The Fourteenth Amendment declares: “nor shall an... Continue Reading »

Naso: Your Next Vacation: Sderot

Naso: Your Next Vacation: Sderot
When I tell well-meaning acquaintances that I am about to return to Israel – yet again -- they usually remark, “Have a good time!” “I hope you enjoy yourself!” and/or “You must really like it there!” &nb... Continue Reading »

Shavuot: Learn, Baby, Learn!

Shavuot: Learn, Baby, Learn!
Poor Shavuot!  It is surely the “Rodney Dangerfield” of major Jewish holidays. Yes, of major Jewish holidays. The Torah commands us to celebrate three pilgrimage festivals; Pesach, Sukkot, and Shavuot.  But Shavuot gets short... Continue Reading »

Be-Hukkotai: A helpful reminder.

Be-Hukkotai: A helpful reminder.
A few blessings, but many curses.  That’s the count in this week’s Torah portion, Be-Hukkotai (combined with Behar outside Israel). And that’s how our lives sometimes – perhaps often – seem.  Especially... Continue Reading »

Responsibility -- A True Story

Responsibility -- A True Story
“All Jews are Responsible For One Another” (Talmud, Shevuot 39a)  “Adoni, atah yachol l’azor li?”  (Sir, can you help me?”) There was no one else around, so he must be talking to me.   I tur... Continue Reading »

Behar/Emor: Consistently Inconsistent

Behar/Emor: Consistently Inconsistent
I’ve returned to Israel, where this week’s Torah reading is B’har. Back in America, though – and everywhere in the Diaspora, – this week’s Torah portion is Emor, which was read last week here.   The diverge... Continue Reading »

Kedoshim: Love to disagree? Disagree to love!

Kedoshim: Love to disagree? Disagree to love!
“What can I learn from (you/him/her/them)?”  This is not normally the question we ask ourselves when deciding whether to meet with someone.  But if it was, we would be acting to fulfill what no less an authority than Rabbi Ak... Continue Reading »
May 01
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A bird that you set free may be caught again, but a word that escapes your lips will not return.
Jewish Proverb