WRJ's Blog

This week’s Parashat Naso II begins with the vow of the Nazarites. In many ways, these vows include some of the things we have been doing in this age of staying at home for the coronavirus.

“Throughout the term of their vow as a nazarite, no razor shall touch their heads.”


Yes, we have gone without a haircut or coloring. We’ve seen on Zoom calls everyone’s true hair color begin to emerge and attempts to tame the ever-growing bangs with clips and headbands. We’ve watched on Facebook and Instagram as people took matters into their own hands or tasked a trusted...

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We are indebted to Rabbi Carole Balin, Ph.D., for her beautiful article regarding Belle Fligelman Winestine, z”l, and her activism for women’s suffrage. I can think of no more fitting way time to salute another amazing Jewish woman who, though probably less well known, nevertheless represents the entire century that has passed since women’s suffrage became a reality. 

That woman is my mother-in-law, Rayna Frank Goodman, who was born on September 15, 1920, one...

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Along with most of you, I am sheltered at home. Despite quite a number of Zoom meetings, happy hours, and educational opportunities, I probably have more extra time in my life than usual.  So, it is fitting that I would choose to write about the longest Torah portion – Naso (lift up)! This is the second portion in the Book of Numbers or B’midbar (wilderness).   There is much to study in this parashah. There are rules dealing with impurity, laws of the Nazarites, instructions for a wife accused of adultery (the sotah), and a passage that we are probably most familiar with – the Priestly...

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Recently, I spent a Sunday afternoon at a virtual “Spring Training.” Spring Training is a program that the Union for Reform Judaism organizes every year at this time. It is an opportunity for many lay volunteers to gather, to learn with each other and with URJ professionals. Typically, Spring Training is held as a weekend together at a hotel. But because I am writing this during our time of shelter-at-home, we gathered this year on Zoom. As I’m sure many of you have been doing.

One of the sessions in our virtual Spring Training was a discussion of DEI – Diversity, Equity, and...

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This week we read the double portion, B’har/b’chukotai.

B’har (on the mount) records the instructions God gave Moses about Sabbath years and Jubilee years. B’chukotai (my laws) famously lays out the benefits and punishments for either obeying or disobeying God’s laws. These are the last two portions in Leviticus.

I am writing this during the Covid-19 lockdown and I am very interested in B’har. The commandments given to the Israelites here, on the Mount, govern the agricultural sabbatical year, the Jubilee year and the laws protecting Israelites from debt-slavery.


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