This week’s Parshah, Tazria-Metzora, deals with all kinds of ritual impurity, including the skin disease, tzara’at, usually translated as leprosy. An afflicted individual is to be placed outside the Israelites’ camp until the disease is gone. This disease is almost certainly not the disease that is properly known as Hansen’s disease (leprosy). Hansen’s disease is a bacterial infection for which, prior to the discovery of antibiotics, there was no cure. A leper could not have been healed. Whether the disease described here is leprosy or not, based on this text, those suffering from Hansen’s...Read More
On the day before this year’s Equal Pay Day (April 10th), the day when women's average earnings finally catch up to men's average earnings from the previous year, equal pay advocates received a gift: a favorable court decision. On Monday, April 9, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals released its unanimous decision for Rizo v. Yovino, ruling that employers cannot consider prior salary when determining an employee’s pay. This decision affirmed equal pay advocates’ claim that using prior...Read More
I recall my high school years as an intense time of personal growth – understanding who I was, how I saw the world, which values resonated with me and which actions best expressed those values. Some learning occurred in the classroom, but some took place at synagogue. I have vivid memories of our Torah-based debates during confirmation class – a dozen or so teens sitting in a circle, guided by a young student-rabbi, discussing the issues of the day with a Jewish lens. I didn’t realize it then, but these discussions were part of the foundation of who I am today and how I view the world....Read More
Columbine High School, April 20, 1999 - 15 dead, 21 injured
Virginia Tech University, April 16, 2007 - 33 dead, 23 injured
Oikos University, April 2, 2012 - 7 dead, 3 injured
Sandy Hook Elementary School, December 14, 2012 - 28 dead, 2 injured
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, February 14, 2018 - 17 dead, 14 injured
Will the list continue?
On March 24, just over a month after a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student used his legal semi-automatic rifle on his teachers and fellow classmates, Reform Jewish women joined together in...Read More
“Why?” As children, we wonder about the color of the sky, and we ponder the rules of the games of the playground. Eventually, we start to ask bigger “why” questions: Why do some people have everything when others have nothing? Why do bad things happen to good people? The questions never cease. Even when the questions are hard or the answers are not apparent, it is human nature to ask. This is the way that God created us. When the mysteries of life puzzle us, we still seek to understand.
The Torah portion for this week seems to offer us more questions than answers. The events of...Read More