WRJ's Blog

Parashah Mikeitz begins with Joseph’s accurate interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams. Joseph, the favorite of Jacob’s 12 sons, had been sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. After years of imprisonment, Joseph was released from slavery due to his foretelling of the seven years of plenty followed by seven years of want. Upon his release from the pit where he was held captive, Joseph was elevated to the second highest position in Egypt. 

Preparation for the years of want did not extend to the land of Joseph’s father and brothers and famine was rampant throughout their land. Jacob...

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In 2012, the year before WRJ celebrated our 100th anniversary, my mitzvah participation while a member of the WRJ Executive Committee was to write 12 D’vrei Torah all of which had the theme, “Women’s Voices Deepen Our Jewish Legacy.” One that I wrote for our centennial year was entitled “Tamar: Conscious Choices and Choosing One’s Own Destiny” and is based on Parashah Vayeishev (Genesis 38: 1 – 30). And, of course, I used “The Torah: A Women’s Commentary” as my companion. Parts of this blog came from that D’var Torah, improved by some grammatical edits and some rethinking of the subject...

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Abraham Geiger College, one of WRJ’s YES Fund recipients, asked WRJ to send a representative to Berlin for the 80th anniversary commemorative events of Kristallnacht, including special services, concerts, art exhibitions and panel discussions. It was my honor to be representing WRJ at these events.

November 9, 2018

We began the day with Rosh Chodesh Kislev services organized by Abraham Geiger College. The service was led by a graduate of the cantorial program, a current cantorial student, and one of WRJ’s grantees at Geiger College, rabbinical student Jasmin Adriani.


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The setting is in the land of Shechem in Canaan, where Jacob and his family are staying after their brief reconciliation with his brother Esau. Usually, I would begin by summarizing the story but we run into problems right from the second sentence:

“Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land. When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area saw her, he took her and …… ??????”

Some versions read “raped” her, others “subdued” or simply “lay with” her.  Sexual intercourse is obviously implied, but was it consensual on...

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In this week’s Torah portion Jacob is fleeing from his brother and is on his way to Haran when he stops at a “certain place” (Genesis 28:11). He settles in for the night, uses a stone as a pillow, and has a dream. Yes, that dream, of ladders and angels and the comfort of the eternal.

When Jacob arrives in his stopping point for the night it is described merely as a “certain place,” not a sacred place or a holy place, not even a named place. It is simply a spot between where he has been and where he is going.

Rabbi Rabbi Allison RH Conyer...

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