WRJ's Blog

Parashat Emor tells us the holy rules of priests and rules for holidays and celebrations: regulations of priestly lives and sacrifices; the Jewish calendar; laws of murder, blasphemy, harming other people; the need for pure olive oil for sanctuary menorahs.

I grew up a rule follower, never shimmied down a trellis after bedtime and was only called to the Vice Principal’s office once (due to an unfortunate misunderstanding of 90’s grunge wear - cutoff jeans and long underwear were cool for Eddie Vedder, apparently not so much for the Absegami High School hallways). I type this in...

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birth control pills

Tomorrow, May 6, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Trump v. Pennsylvania/Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania, two consolidated cases challenging the Department of Health and Human Services October 2017 rules that drastically expanded employers and universities’ ability to claim a religious or moral exemption from the contraceptive coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act. This is the third time that challenges to the birth control benefit...

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I am pleased to present this week’s D’var Torah. It is a wonderful opportunity for me to study ancient teachings and search for meaning…to today’s Reform Jews, to women, and even, personally to me. This week we read from the double portion Acharei Mot/K’doshim, the sixth and seventh portions in the book of Leviticus.

Adonai spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, who died when they drew too close to Adonai. Adonai said, "Tell your brother Aaron that he is not to come at will into the shrine behind the curtain, in front of the cover that is upon the ark, lest he die...

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My mom died last year. I lost a best friend, mentor, and life coach. My world turned upside down. I felt myself alone in experiencing a grief so intense and painful. Not only was I unable to think of anything else, I didn't want to. I didn't answer phone calls or return text messages; I deleted emails. I declined invitations to grief groups though others said they would be helpful. Sadness and loneliness occupied my life out to the edges. I felt separated from friends, community and the rest of the world.

There are times in our lives when it may be necessary to seclude ourselves...

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Seven years ago, when I came to teach a Torah Corps class to the URJ Kutz Camp in New York, I was confronted with a completely different Jewish reality than I had known until then from my home country – the Czech Republic. The most striking difference was the fact that my American colleagues and students openly spoke about being Jewish. I was shocked by their matter of fact approach to their Jewish identity but appreciated it at the same time. I remember somebody asking me: “What was the form of Judaism you grew up with? Reform, Orthodox or Conservative?” Even though most of my Jewish...

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