WRJ's Blog

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”  -- Harriet Tubman.

Parashah Vayetzei starts with a dream as Jacob left Beersheba and sets out for Haran to his Uncle Laban. He came upon a certain place and stopped for the night. He finds a stone and used it as a pillow to lay his head and then had a dream.  In his dream, there was a stairway reaching to the sky and angels of God were ascending and descending from it. God was standing beside him and said, “I am the...

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Women's rights are human rights poster

In the spring of 2019, an alarming surge in anti-abortion legislation took place in state legislatures across the U.S. Nine states enacted gestational age bans on abortion, many as early as 6 weeks -- before most individuals even know they are pregnant. Fortunately, all bans have been blocked by federal judges from taking effect for the time being. Four states  adopted legislation that...

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Fifty-one years ago this week, I became a bat mitzvah. Fifty-one years ago, I read from the Torah, and the parashah was Tol’dot – the same words that we read this Shabbat.

Being a “saver,” I still have the composition notebook in which my rabbi had me work on everything for my Bat Mitzvah. As I read through it recently, I realized that my “take” on the verses I was reading was, in fact, what he told me it was. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience of becoming a Bat Mitzvah – the studying, the learning, and the “presenting” – so I never felt that my rabbi had imposed his opinion...

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Chayei Sarah begins with the note that Sarah’s lifetime came to 127 years. Although the rest of the parshah focuses solely on post-death events, the parshah is titled “The Life of Sarah” and not “The Death of Sarah.” While this imbalance puzzled me at first, I now understand that despite the focus on post-death, the parshah, in fact, is about how Sarah lived.

If we have 127 years, what kind of impact can we make? In all of those years, will how we spend those days, hours and minutes matter and be enough to matter as much as Sarah’s life mattered? I have the privilege, as an estate...

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It is a small world! Surely, many of you have had that thought. Perhaps you have read these stories or had similar experiences.

  • “Do any of you know anyone who is a member of a progressive Jewish congregation in Berlin, Germany? One of my cousins will be visiting Berlin during Rosh Hashanah and she'd love to attend services.”
  • “My summer travels this year took me to Paris… my French cousins introduced me to Rabbis Pauline Bebe and Tom Cohen. Rabbi Bebe, the first female rabbi in Europe, was a former WRJ scholarship recipient.”
  • “The Seder (in Lisbon) that my family...
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