WRJ's Blog

The inspiration for my D’Var Torah is found in Exodus 14:19, but before explaining why, a brief summary of the whole of Parashat B’shalach is warranted for it is action-packed.

Parashat B’shalach begins and ends with the Israelites traveling, first as a funeral procession and second as a dancing group celebrating deliverance from oppression. Specifically, Parashat B’shalach tells of Moses’s adventures leading the Israelites out of Egypt and, instead of taking the direct costal route “by way of the land of the Philistines, although it was nearer” [Exodus 13:17] Moses takes a longer...

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45 years have passed since the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade affirmed a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health. Yet this groundbreaking decision is now facing more threats than ever. In fact, while the right to an abortion is still the law of the land, abortion is available to fewer and fewer women.

We have all read news reports of assaults and harassment of abortion patients and clinic employees. More insidious are legislative efforts to restrict access to abortion through ...

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Three more plagues! That is what we find in Parashat Bo. We see the last three plagues brought down on Egypt to convince Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go. There are locusts, darkness, and the most horrible, the slaying of the first born. These plagues are not only to show Pharaoh and the Egyptians the power of God, but to also show this power to the Israelites. After generations of slavery and idol worship, the Israelites had to witness for themselves the power and grandeur of what God could do. It was not enough to simply remove the shackles, but to empower the Hebrews to claim their...

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After my mother died, I wondered if she had ever visited her mother’s grave in Maine, where she grew up. It seems strange now that I did not know the answer. After all, visiting the graves of family members is a Jewish tradition, part of the routine of honoring the dead. But, then again, my mother’s mother’s death was not routine.

My grandmother died in 1921 from an illegal abortion. She had four little girls, the youngest of whom was 15 months old and the next youngest, my mother, was about to turn three. I assume that she just couldn’t go through another pregnancy, but I don’t...

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This parashah describes G-d appointing Moses and Aaron as the ones to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage to freedom. Moses did not feel he was a good candidate for the position, but Adonai believed in him.

We have the ability to shake off our own chains. To be free to reach our potentials. The Women of Reform Judaism and our sisterhoods helped me be free of my shyness and insecurities through the confidence they had in me. The leaders who came before mentored and inspired me so that by the time I was asked to take on the office of District President I felt secure enough to...

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