WRJ's Blog

As we reach the end of the book of Numbers (B’midbar), this week’s double portion, Matot-Mas’ei, reminds us to find our voice and to not fear change. In the portion Matot, Moses gives the Israelites G-d’s instructions regarding vows and oaths. In Mas’ei, the Israelites prepare for change and a new life as they enter the Promised Land.

“When a person takes a vow…whatever leaves his mouth, he must do,” Numbers 30:3. Parshah Matot addresses the legal issue of nullification of vows. It states that a married woman can make a vow, but can be nullified by her husband, upon hearing it. If...

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It all began as a promise to twin with a woman’s group through the Women of Reform Judaism’s Domim-aLike Twinning Program. We met Anna Kislanski, a member of Kehilat Hashachar in Even Yehuda, at the WRJ Assembly in 2013 and we decided to move forward twinning with their congregation. The connection that began from that small meeting has now grown to involve our entire congregation and theirs. As it happened, one of the Israeli liaisons for Kehilat Hashachar was born and raised in Toronto. Rita Gvili had made Aliyah 35 years before and was visiting her mother in the summer of 2013 when we...

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She called me “headstrong” and meant it as a compliment.  I wasn’t so sure I liked that description, so I decided to check the dictionary – my leather-bound, 1966 high-school-gifted Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary. It said headstrong could be defined as “1. not easily restrained: WILLFUL 2. directed by ungovernable will syn see UNRULY.” That was definitely not I! Maybe she really just used the wrong word…

Words are so important. Let me explain. When our Confirmation Class (our congregation’s Confirmation occurs in 12th grade, not the traditional 10th) leads its...

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As a kid, I was never very good at falling asleep. I came into the world screaming, and my parents joke that nothing much has changed. Eventually, they had to teach me to sleep by letting me cry. Instead of coming in every few minutes, they sat patiently outside my bedroom door until I fell asleep on my own. My mom said it was one of the hardest things she’s ever done. Still, she could burst through that door any second if she wanted to. She could grab me in her arms and know that, despite the tears, I was okay. She had a choice. For the families crossing the border right now, they do not...

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Parashat Balak offers a common theme - the evil ruler Balak, the King of Moab, is afraid of being overpowered by another more powerful group of people, the Israelites. Balak hires the prophet Balaam to place a curse on the Israelites to destroy them. This is when the Israelites are about to enter Canaan. Will they actually inherit the Promised Land, or will Balaam use his prophetic powers to thwart them?

Balaam, the Midianite prophet, agrees to curse the Israelites and destroy them. God tells Balaam that the Israelites are a blessed people and are not to be cursed. Balaam is to...

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