WRJ's Blog

“Adonai spoke to Moses, saying: Tell the Israelite people to bring Me gifts: you shall accept gifts for Me from every person whose heart is so moved.” (Exodus, 25:1)

This, of course, is what we like to think of as the original congregational building fund. God is asking the people to bring everything the Israelites will need to build the Tabernacle – the house of worship in the desert.

As a bat mitzvah, I thought of this parashah as the “cubits” parashah. How big was the table of acacia wood? Two cubits long, one cubit wide and a cubit and a half high. How big were the...

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At this year's Jewish Disability Advocacy Day (JDAD), more than 200 disability rights advocates and Jewish leaders came to Capitol Hill to push legislators to support crucial health care and education services for people with disabilities. The day's speakers highlighted the experiences and activism of the disability justice community across the country, particularly in light of recent attacks on Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. I found JDAD to be an incredibly humbling and empowering day.

Ari Ne'eman, advisor to the ...

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In Little Women, Louisa May Alcott wrote, “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.” The #MeToo movement has definitely embraced this philosophy —women speaking out honestly, regardless of possible backlash. It is not that we can push our worries aside, but rather its a decision to weather the storms that may come from speaking out because honesty and equity are paramount.

The fact that women are distressed and often feel unable to report instances of sexual assault is in and of itself a problem. Throughout history, women have coped with these situations by...

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This week’s torah portion, Mishpatim, which translates into ‘these are the rules’, covers three broad areas: interpersonal laws, laws about ritual and the assent to the covenant, na’aseh venishma, which begins the start of Moses’ forty days on the mountain. Here we find familiar passages such as ‘an eye for an eye’ alongside dictates on how to treat the widow and the stranger. With over fifty mitzvot outlined in this section alone, it’s clear this portion ‘presents the rabbis with a field day of Torah laws and statutes...

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Each year, the New York campus of HUC-JIR hosts an evening where the scholarship students and donors can meet and mingle. On January 27, along with WRJ Executive Director Rabbi Marla Feldman, I attended this year’s Scholarship Recognition Dinner, where we had the pleasure of meeting two of this year’s WRJ’s scholars – Ariel Milan-Polisar and Rachael Pass.

The evening began with wine and hors-d'oeuvres in the HUC-JIR lobby, and an opportunity to meet our “WRJ scholars” and other scholarship recipients... followed by Havdalah, and then dinner in the great space downstairs. We heard...

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