WRJ's Blog

Dear WRJ Friends. How wonderful it was to be together at the Fried Leadership Conference in Charleston, South Carolina, last weekend! For those of you who were unable to participate, please go on Yammer or Facebook, and read your district newsletters or other outlets to view items about the excellent workshops, speakers, worship services and activities. As always, when WRJ women come together, the connections engage and inspire each and all of us!

The rituals we shared at the Fried Leadership Conference, particularly on Shabbat, began with lighting candles. In Jewish ritual, women...

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Throughout my life, I always have looked to other women as examples of strength. As a rape survivor, I am motivated by women who faced gender-based violence before me, and the ways they confronted their circumstances. In the aftermath of my trauma, I turned to Judaism for direction. Within Jewish narratives of war and resistance, I found feminists who directed me to speak out and contest gender inequities.

The Torah is filled with female voices. The Matriarchs influenced the course of our history as a people, and even the lack of women’s voices is powerful. For example, in the rape...

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This week's Torah portion is Parashat T'rumah, Exodus 25:1-27:19, which gives specific instructions for the building of the Mishkan, also known as the Tabernacle. So many of the items named in the parashat as building materials in the Tabernacle, can still be seen in our synagogues...the ark and its cover, the tables and menorahs, the lamps, jewels and yarns. You can walk into almost any synagogue in the world and see symbols that let you know that you are indeed in a Jewish house of worship.

Over the years, I've worshiped in many places. One of the most memorable for me was in the...

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Rules…rules…rules….Why so many?

This week’s parasha Mishpatim contains 23 positive and 30 negative commandments, the most mitzvot found in any single Torah portion. There is a vast assortment of laws from detailing the daily grind of life to establishing the three festivals (Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot). Laws cover personal injury, cursing parents, servants/slaves, murder, seduction, idolatry and oppression of widows, children and orphans. They continue with not cursing judges or leaders, how to lend money, and returning stray animals to owners.

As Torah has repeatedly...

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What are the key aspects of a Jewish identity? That can be a very tough question. There are at least three different elements that might be incorporated into a person’s self-description of being Jewish: peoplehood, religion and culture. Not only do I strive to incorporate all three of these elements into my personal definition of myself as a liberal Jewish woman, but I do so with a passion that somehow seems to encourage those around me to grasp that Judaism is central to my core. Because of whom I choose to be, I see the world through Jewish eyes.

Chapter 20 of the Book of Exodus...

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