It is ironic that a famous cigarette commercial directed toward women decades ago touted “We’ve come a long way, baby” as it became “more acceptable” for women to smoke cigarettes! The meaning was that women were now independent and could make their own choices to smoke if that’s what they wanted. Is that really coming a long way? I think not; instead it was a pitch to encourage women to smoke. And so I pose the question: Have we truly come a long way? Why are we still questioning whether women should be able to make their own decisions about their own bodies despite the fact that they can...Read More
When a parashah contains the Torah’s (one and only) famous talking female donkey, it is sure to be interesting. This week, we study Balak, from Numbers 22:2-25:9. The children of Israel are approaching Moab. Balak – King of Moab – hires Balaam, a diviner, “to curse Israel to oblivion”, generally considered an efficacious means to subject one’s enemy in ancient times.
On the journey to curse Israel, Balaam’s donkey sees an angel, causing him to “swerve from the road … and into the fields.” His master, Balaam, is temporarily blinded and does not see the angel himself. Angry that his...Read More
Chukat, this week’s parasha, reveals the deaths of both Miriam and Aaron, not only significant leaders of the Jewish people, but siblings of perhaps our greatest leader Moses. As we all know, from the beautiful reading heard at most funerals, life is a journey and death a destination. Death is inevitable in our lives and our families’ lives. How do we personally approach death? Can someone ever be prepared? How can we ease the way for those we love?
In 1990, from January through April, our small family saw the deaths of both my beloved parents- my mother...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.
I was born and raised in Jerusalem. My parents, new immigrants from Iran, grew up in a...Read More
Every summer my husband and I take a bicycling trip. It has provided an opportunity for us to see parts of the world we would not have otherwise visited, while remaining active. Our trips are headed up by young, passionate, talented leaders who have taught us a tremendous amount. They have made our trips enjoyable and safe, and they have also demonstrated true leadership. They are not only experts in local languages and culture and skilled bicyclists in top physical shape, but they are able to maneuver a van up mountains and through the tightest of spots. We are always unbelievably...Read More