This week’s Torah portion, Naso, focuses on four central themes. In the first section, God tells Moses to take a census of the Levites, issuing those of a specific age range (30 to 50 years of age) detailed instructions regarding the Tabernacle. The second section outlines the procedure for dealing with women who are suspected of adultery, thus bringing impurity to the community. The third section describes the laws of the Nazir/N’zirah (yes, a woman could also subscribe to this way of life) as well as God’s instruction to Moses to bless Aaron and his sons (the people of Israel) with the...Read More
Rushing around the plenary room at the 2015 URJ Biennial in Orlando, FL, my friend and I were lost high school participants desperate for any seats we could get our hands on before the lights faded all the way out. Finally, we spotted two empty seats in the middle of a large group of women. Unclear whether or not these were reserved seats, we asked the women at the end of the row if we could sit and we were enthusiastically told us that these were all saved for the WRJ delegation; we could sit there if we promised to join WRJ when we were older. Only focused on getting seats before the...Read More
B’midbar, or "in the wilderness," is the name of both this week's Torah portion, the opening chapters of the Book of Numbers, and the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible. The Torah portion centers around two census counts ordered by God. The first count is the number of fighting men of the twelve tribes of Israel whose task is to guard the populace from outside enemies. The second count is of the number of males above one month of age of the tribe of Levi whose task is to assist the Kohanim [priests] in ministering to the tabernacle and guarding it from all outsiders.
As I read the...Read More
The outstanding success of last month’s inaugural Women of Reform Social Justice Conference (SJC) can be measured in myriad ways: the intriguing workshops, elegant Shabbat services, networking with friends, YES fundraising, and engaging plenaries. Appropriately, and in keeping with the theme of tikkun olam, the attendees were not given program books and a dozen flyers at registration but were asked to upload all conference materials to an app. Throughout SJC and continuing through the Religious Action Center’s Consultation on Conscience that followed, we received reminders about places to...Read More
B’Chukotai. One of the Torah portions that people avoid like the plague- (literally -like the chapters about the plagues). Here is a vision of G-d that we don’t want to embrace. The passages are full of blessings and curses. Do as I say and all will be well. Ignore me, and your world will crumble.
Why do we have so much trouble with this? Is it because we don’t want to believe in a G-d that would be so heartless as to destroy us and our future generations if we stray from the path? Or is it that the responsibilities are so overwhelming that we think we will fail, and somewhere deep...Read More