WRJ's Blog

When we first got involved with WRJ, we learned the basics of the YES Fund. We learned about money given to HUC-JIR, scholarships for Rabbinic and Cantorial Students, money for NFTY and the RAC. Sometime later, buried in the “Special Project” section, was money given to the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) for the Bat Mitzvah program. We had no real idea what that program was.   WRJ partners with the Israeli Movement for Progressive Judaism to sponsor the Mother-Daughter Bat Mitzvah Program. Most girls in Israel do not become Bat Mitzvah. They often have big parties (sound...

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There were so many details to work out - work budgets, social plans for my husband, flights and hotel for graduations, two weddings to plan for - that I really did not have time to think about my upcoming trip. Even at the airport waiting to board I did not have time to focus on my itinerary.

Finally, I boarded the plane, stepped over the gentleman who chose not to move out of the way for me as I claimed the seat next to him, and buckled my seat belt. Then, the flight attendant gave the usual pre-flight instructions. Oh wait! He was speaking Hebrew! And then it became real. I...

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This week’s parashah combines B'har and B’chukotai. B'har presents the laws for observing the sabbatical and jubilee years and addresses caring for the poor and the land. B’chukotai lays out the rewards and consequences for obeying God’s rules.

The people are told that the sabbatical year, the seventh year, is for the land to be given a rest - its own Sabbath. In this year that the land lies fallow, the people are commanded to guarantee food for the needy and cancel all debts. It is God’s land and we are to care for it and all of God’s creations.

So is this where we learn...

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The rise in anti-immigrant rhetoric has the potential for serious policy ramifications. Concerns that the budget (or the continuing resolution to maintain funding without a new budget) would have provisions for a down payment on a US-Mexico border wall, allocate funds for the hiring of 500 new Customs and Border Protection agents and 1,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, and increase the detention and removal of undocumented immigrants have been assuaged for now. Potential budgets down the line could contain these very provisions, or similar ones. Within these big-...

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I grew up as a classical Reform Jew. My parents attempted to consolidate my father’s Orthodox background with my mother’s Reform Judaism. That translated to my brother going to the shul while I was sent to the Temple. His Bar Mitzvah was Orthodox; my 1961 Bat Mitzvah was at the Temple (the first one in its long history). I also went to a summer camp where I learned many songs and blessings that the Conservative owner led on Friday nights. I guess you could call me a Jewish mutt, but I prefer thinking I had the best of all worlds!

There were, however, many observances and customs...

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