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Medicare, Moon Landings and Masei

This Shabbat we read the combined parshiyot of Mattot and Massei, finishing the book of Bamidbar, which literally means “in the wilderness.” The Israelites have been wandering in this wilderness for about 40 years...

Life, Death and Running Water

In parshat Hukkat, both Miriam and Aaron die, but under very different circumstances. From a p’shat, or “literal” reading of the text, Miriam simply dies and is buried, while Aaron is not only given...

Miriam the Marriage Counselor

In this week’s Torah reading, Behaalot’kha, Moses’ siblings, Miriam and Aaron, are scolded by God, va tidabber Miriam v’Aharon b’Moseh al odot ha isha ha-cushite asher lakach, ki isha Cushite lakach– “And then Miriam...

Climb Ev’ry Mountain

As we come to the end of the book of Vayikra, “Leviticus,” God is speaking to Moses b’har Sinai, “on Mount Sinai,” and giving him instructions regarding the shmitah, or Sabbatical year. “When you...

The Mother and Child Union

“When a woman gives birth to a boy, she shall be unclean for seven days, and remain in a state of blood-purification for 33 days.” (Lev. 12:2-4) Double that if she has a girl....

Compassion – Across the Divide

Passover is a commemoration of the Israelites’ journey from slavery in Egypt to redemption and freedom in the wilderness of Sinai. When we read and tell the story during the Maggid portion of our...

Noah, Abraham, Passover and the Call for Justice

Making a commitment to social justice means, among other things, being willing to challenge authority when one sees oppression, discrimination and violations of civil, cultural and religious rights in one’s community. It means being...

One Bad Apple?

In Chapter 3 of Megillat (the scroll of) Esther – which we read on Purim – we’re introduced to our villain, Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Aggagite, who becomes promoted to be King...

Lessons from the Land of Egypt

A story is told that when a gentile came to the great Hillel and said, “Teach me the entire Torah while I stand on one foot,” Hillel replied, “That which is hateful to you,...

I Have A Dream

I Have A Dream

  Excerpt from the “I Have A Dream” speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King set to Haftorah trope, chanted by Rabbi Susan Elkodsi.     I HAVE A DREAM I am happy to...