My name is Rachel Rothstein and I am a 2nd-year rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio but chose to study at the Los Angeles HUC-JIR campus because I thought it was important to get out of my comfort zone and experience the vibrant Jewish communities in LA that are very different from where I grew up. Graduate school is about stretching your mind and learning new things, not just as they relate to your coursework, but also about oneself. For those reasons, I’m so thankful to be on the Los Angeles campus, where I am...Read More
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