Over the past few years, I have adopted a morning ritual where I immediately recite the Modah Ani prayer with my first conscious thought - giving thanks to God for the gift of another day. It is the first of many such rituals throughout my day that remind me of God’s presence in my life. These points of contact and intermittent “awakenings” bring me back to the present moment and strengthen and refresh me. These touchpoints renew my connection to God and most importantly, God’s connection to me. With each “wake-up call,” I build a stronger and more resilient platform of faith (emunah) and...Read More
This essay is published as part of the WRJ “Sharing Our Stories” project – a place where Reform/Progressive women in North America and around the world share personal stories of sisterhood, spirituality and social good in an effort to help us create meaningful connections and better understanding of each other, our shared values, goals and challenges, to share what we have in common as Reform/Progressive Jewish women, and also explore our own unique identities as citizens of different cultures.
My name is Jackie Garcia Mann and I am a member of Temple Isaiah in Lafayette...Read More
Parashat B’ha’a’lot’cha opens as the Israelites are about to begin their journey from Mount Sinai to the Promised Land. The beginning of their journey to Israel raised anxieties and concerns among the people about how their needs for sustenance will be met, as well as about who has the authority to lead them.
One verse of interest to me in the parashah is Numbers 10:2. God tells Moses and the Jewish people, “Have two silver trumpets made; make them of hammered work.” These trumpets will be used to summon the community to assembly, to start communal journeys, set the divisions in...Read More
My name is Rachel Rothstein and I am a 2nd-year rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio but chose to study at the Los Angeles HUC-JIR campus because I thought it was important to get out of my comfort zone and experience the vibrant Jewish communities in LA that are very different from where I grew up. Graduate school is about stretching your mind and learning new things, not just as they relate to your coursework, but also about oneself. For those reasons, I’m so thankful to be on the Los Angeles campus, where I am...Read More
This week’s Torah portion, Naso, focuses on four central themes. In the first section, God tells Moses to take a census of the Levites, issuing those of a specific age range (30 to 50 years of age) detailed instructions regarding the Tabernacle. The second section outlines the procedure for dealing with women who are suspected of adultery, thus bringing impurity to the community. The third section describes the laws of the Nazir/N’zirah (yes, a woman could also subscribe to this way of life) as well as God’s instruction to Moses to bless Aaron and his sons (the people of Israel) with the...Read More