By Julia Wackenheim, WRJ North American Board Executive Committee, Member At Large, 6/18/2021
In Parashah Chukat, “God said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel and find a completely red cow on which there is no blemish and no yoke has ever come. You shall give it to Eleazar, the priest, and he shall take it outside the camp and slaughter it. This cow shall then be made into an offering and those that participate in the sacrifice shall be unclean until the evening. ‘Remember this everlasting statute,’ God continues. ‘One who touches the corpse of any human soul becomes unclean for seven days. If the corpse is in a tent, all that is within the tent is also unclean... Read More
By Debra Goetz, WRJ North American Board Member, Temple Emanuel, McAllen, TX, 6/11/2021
There is something a bit disturbing about reading a Torah portion with insurrections and plague in 2021. Parashah Korach (Numbers 16:1 – 18:32) contains two different rebellion- Korah’s challenge to Aaron’s leadership of the priesthood and Dathan and Abiram’s challenge against Moses’s leadership. Tests and consequences follow, including a plague. Moses directs Aaron to act, and the plague is checked, although thousands had already died. Reading anything about a plague is simply different these days than it would be pre-COVID-19.
Perhaps finding action unsettling is one way to... Read More
By Sharon Sobel, WRJ Northeast District President, Temple B'nai Chaim, Georgetown, CT, 5/28/2021
The Torah portion, B'haalot'cha, is a rich and complicated one, full of insight about the people we are and, more importantly, about the people we hope to be. Though the narrative is an ancient one, we see ourselves reflected in the light of those uncertain and perilous days.
The Israelites have left Egypt and are several years into their journey through the wilderness. Attempts to adapt traditional observances and maintain order in strange new lands, with an increasingly anxious population of 600,000, are not always successful. There is the threat of... Read More
By Shirah Kraus,Rabbinic-Education student at HUC Cincinnati &Los Angeles, 5/21/2021
In seventh grade, I started going to a new school. This urban public high school was completely different from my private Jewish day school. At Rockwern Academy, it was not unusual to hear about second homes and fancy video game consoles, things my family could not afford. But at Walnut Hills High School, people asked me if I was rich.
My dad went to Walnut Hills, too, and he had a teacher who used to say: “No amount of happiness in the world can buy money.” Yes, you read that right: “no amount of happiness in the world can buy money.” When I first heard these words, the inverse of... Read More
By Luisa Narins, WRJ Board Member and Individual Member, 5/14/2021
In mid-March, I was part of the WRJ Legislative Body Meeting, where we affirmed resolutions and approved changes to the WRJ Constitution. In changing language in one item of the Constitution, discussion arose as to whether or not a WRJ Board member had to be Jewish. After a thorough debate with many points raised, the majority felt that being Jewish, either by birth or conversion, was an important criterion for someone serving on the WRJ Board of Directors. However, I did not agree with that decision.
Similarly, last year, during the National Census, there were questions voiced about... Read More