WRJ's Blog

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I have heard this expression countless times in my life, and it is incredibly fitting for URJ Camp Newman for summer 2018.

Last October, after many years in operation along Porter Creek Road in Sonoma County, a majority of Camp Newman’s buildings were engulfed in the Tubbs Fire. Quickly after the depth of devastation was made clear, the board and staff persevered to make sure that Summer of 2018 at Camp Newman would happen. Campers eagerly awaited the news of an alternate location. Finally, the announcement came via an email with a video...

Read More

This week's Torah portion, Re'eh, begins by commanding us to “see,” to open our eyes and behold the world which has been set before us. At every moment, we can choose between blessing and curse. Each decision we make and each action we take has a consequence, an effect not only for ourselves, but also for everyone and everything around us. God sets before all of us – as a collective - the choice for blessing or curse. But it is up to each one of us - individually - to make decisions which fulfill God's commandments and align with our Reform Jewish values. Each of us personally must open...

Read More

“And if you do obey these rules and observe them carefully, the Eternal your God will maintain faithfully for you the covenant made on oath with your fathers,” (Deuteronomy 7:12) Moses tells the Israelites a series of commands from God. He tells them that if they follow God's laws, the nations who now dwell across the Jordan River will not harm them. (7:12–26)

He reminds the people of the virtues of keeping God's commandments. He also tells them that they will dispossess those who now live in the Land only because they are idolatrous, not because the Israelites are uncommonly...

Read More

In Va-et’chanan, many powerful lessons can be learned, with the ten commandments, the Sh’ma, and the V’ahavta in this parashah. Moses pleads with G-d to be allowed to enter the Promised Land.  The Israelites are instructed to treasure the Torah and to teach the precepts to the generations to come. Cities of refuge are set up on the eastern side of the Jordan River, in addition, the prohibition of interfaith marriages is mentioned.

One of the important aspects of this weeks’ parashah is the one on teaching and learning. Moses states why the Israelites should obey G-d’s teaching, he...

Read More

It’s one thing to be standing in front of a room when you know more than everyone else; it’s entirely different to be educating a group of people who know as much, if not more, than you do. It is scary, your heart is racing, and you feel like you could never possibly be equipped to handle whatever you’ve been tasked with.

But the room is filled with energy and passion, and people know as much as you do because they care as much as you do. And so they ask questions and answer questions. They help each other talk things through and figure things out. In this room, I can be okay with...

Read More