One Year Later: Seeing the Flood of #MeToo so the Rainbow Can Shine

…Here we are again, Parashat Noach, one year later. The flood of #MeToo continues. Though there have been glimmers of hope toward changing tides: conversations about the issue that were never as public as they are now, court cases in the headlines, and more, we are still in the trenches of it all. We are working toward a day when the flood waters will recede and the rainbow will shine brightly in the sky for all to see. This will signal a day in which the voices of all victims will be heard, empowered, and believed. This will be a safer world…

Read More

Truths of Our Sefer Torah and Our Personal Torah

…In the conclusion of his song, Moses sings out: 


“Take to heart all the words with which I have warned you this day. Enjoin them upon your children, that they may observe faithfully all the terms of this Teaching” (Deut. 32:46). Moses asks the people, he implores, he begs, that they raise their children through the values, morals, and teachings that God brought to them during their journey through the wilderness…

Read More

The Voices of Women for Change

Every year when we hit this week’s Torah portion, Pinchas, my email fills with divrei Torah about the great accomplishments of Zelophehad's daughters as writers proclaim the chutzpah of five women who ask Moses for the right to inherit their father’s land.  People pump their fists in the air and call out “hazah!” a glimpse of feminism in the text! Look at these amazing daughters who inherit!…….(Read more to see how this view changes)

Read More

What Happens When You Argue for Truth NOT Victory

…”As we strive to uphold the words of our Sages, to engage in arguments and debates for the sake of truth, may we turn over a new leaf toward humility. May we truly see the humanity of the other person with which we converse and recognize that within them there is a spark of the Divine that may also be seeking truth. Let us preface our debates with a statement that we are willing to be open to new ideas, and actually mean it! Let us challenge our counterpart, when they have clearly begun the conversation for the sake of victory, and find ways to move the conversation to one that seeks truth.”….

Read More

Finding Your Team, Your Seventy

…In the art of comparing Lebron to Moses here, I’d only point out that, when Lebron’s teammates aren’t supporting him, he must feel very alone, worn out, and ready for everyone to step back up and help him be the best he can be…and when they don’t, it’s simply “not good.”…

Read More

Rise Up and Be Holy

…Holiness is the highest plane of humanity, it is where we are most like God. But we must remember, as the great Hassidic Rabbi Levi of Berdichever reminds us, “However holy we can become, God’s holiness will always be superior to ours.” And yet, we should all constantly strive to bring holiness into this world, because when we take even a moment to contemplate God’s holiness, it inspires us to then emulate God’s holiness…

Read More

The Underdog's Resolution

If you’ve ever seen Rocky, Remember the Titans or Rudy, you know the great thrill that can come from watching the little guy come out on top.

 

Our portion this week, Vayechi, brings forth the story of yet another underdog. The parashah holds the famous scene of Jacob, blind and on his death bed, blessing his grandson’s, Ephraim and Manasheh, crossing his arms to place his right hand on the younger grandson, Ephraim’s head, and his left hand on Manasheh -- a controversial move given that Manasheh was the first-born!

Read More

Finding Angels to Draw us Toward the Heavens

Rabbi Max and I returned from Israel on Tuesday. After an intense 8 days of meetings, lectures, and study. We met with settlers, Members of Knesset on the right and the left, Palestinians, specialists in the Middle East’s political climate, Reform and Masorti Rabbis, Orthodox rabbis, and Diplomats from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign affairs…just to name a few. 

Read More

See the Flood of #MeToo so the Rainbow Can Shine

I recently learned that a young one in our congregation doesn’t believe that rainbows are real....This issue of not understanding the reality until we see it laid out before us, has been a topic spread across headlines this week. Actress Alyssa Milano called out to the women of the world on Sunday afternoon; she called for a figurative flood so that humanity could find a rainbow. That figurative flood was to reveal how deep the issues of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and any other unwanted sexualized behavior run for women in this country. 

Read More

To Truly SEE Another

When Max and I lived in Israel in the Summer of 2016 we rode the #13 bus to work each day of the hot Jerusalem summer. When you ride the same bus at about the same time each day you run into some of the same familiar faces. There were the little girls who got on at the stop after us, about 7-years-old, who would look so mature as they scanned their bus cards and then found their usual seat next to the older woman with her market cart. Then there were the familiar faces in the back, sitting with blank stares as they listened to the latest music or podcast on their phones. And the final familiar face was that of the man who would sit, each morning, the third row back on the right side, window seat. He was distinct for his white and blue embellished kippah, his kind eyes, and the sounds he would make due to his Tourettes syndrome. 

Read More

Affirmation and Teshuvah

...we go on this journey toward self-improvement throughout our lives and all the more so in these days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Those yield lights are flashing and they are signaling to us, "Hey, if you haven’t been working on yourself lately, maybe it is time to slow down, take a deep breath, find some quiet, and evaluate.”

Read More