WRJ's Blog

This week we turn to Ha’azinu, the second to last parashat in the book of Deuteronomy. For the entirety of the book of Deuteronomy, Moses has been reviewing the Israelites’ wandering—the exam review if you will.  Now as his death approaches, he teaches them this poem so that they will remember what is important. Logically, it makes sense that it would be a poem or a song; it is much easier to remember things when learned that way.  I can clearly remember the jingles of my youth, but I probably can’t tell you what I ate yesterday.

What strikes me as odd about this poem, however, is...

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The period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur offers us the opportunity to confront the annual questions of how this New Year will be different from the one just ended. Let’s take a moment to think about a few easy ways to incorporate Torah values into our daily life.

Vayeilech, the shortest parashah, finishes the arc of Moses retelling the Torah to the children of Israel as they prepare to enter the Promised Land.

This parashah contains the final positive mitzvah, commandment of the Torah, that every individual is obligated to write a scroll for himself [Deut 31:19]. ...

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Nitzavim begins with these words:

“You stand this day, all of you, before your God -- you tribal heads, you elders, and you officials, all the men of Israel, you children, you women, even the stranger within your camp, from woodchopper to water drawer -- to enter into the covenant of your God, which your God is concluding with you this day …” (Deuteronomy 29:9-11)

Much has been written about the fact that women are included in this ceremony. Hooray! We were there. We weren’t left tending the fires to make the dinner for the men’s big celebration. We were there.

Look...

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This week’s parashat, Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8), lays out Moses’s final instructions to the people as they are about to enter the Promised Land, after forty years of wandering in the desert. Though many of these rules have already been delivered, this is his last opportunity to emphasize the importance of establishing a just, long-lasting society once they are settled, as well as ensuring their covenantal relationship with God.

  • Bring the first fruits of the soil to the altar and express your gratitude to God for your bountiful harvest and freedom from slavery, saving ten...
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Family at the border

Earlier this month, the Union for Reform Judaism joined over 200 organizations in calling on Congress to curtail funding for immigration detention and enforcement, and to enact standards to improve treatment of people in immigration detention. The letter demanded action not in the form of sweeping legislation or impassioned pleas on the Senate floor, but through the appropriations process.

The Congressional appropriations process doesn’t sound exciting. However, it may be the most powerful tool that the RAC and our coalitional partners have in the fight for immigrant justice....

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