WRJ's Blog

As I am contemplating writing this piece about the Parashah Chol HaMoeid Pesach, the world is being confronted by a global pandemic. Our world is upended in ways most of us have never experienced. Thus, there are many reasons to write about Jewish Ethics since the need for them is palpable and this parashah is often interpreted as being about them.

When I signed up to write the D’var Torah for this parashah, it was my intention to focus on this interpretation.  At the same time I signed up to write, there was an announcement about the WRJ Women’s Journey to Israel Cultural Mission...

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In this week’s Parsha Tzav, the Ko-ha-neem, the High Priests, are given detailed instructions on how to offer sacrifices right down to what they should wear. Of course, sacrifices are not part of our Jewish practice today, but I do see some of these important lessons and principles demonstrated within WRJ and our sisterhoods in many things we do.

As I studied this portion, some important themes like preparation, leadership, instruction and connection came to mind. In our women’s groups we understand the importance of preparation. Whether planning a worship service, social action...

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On March 22, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting “non-essential” medical procedures for 30 days. State Attorney General Ken Paxton clarified the next day that the order would include a ban on nearly all abortions.

Dozens of states have delayed non-urgent procedures since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak to conserve equipment and safeguard medical personnel during this crisis. While we support these difficult but necessary steps to preserve public...

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This week’s portion is Va-Yikra, the opening of the book of Leviticus. We begin with a description of all the different kinds of sacrifices and how they are to be performed. I am left with imagining the scene at the Tabernacle or in the Temple: the sights, the sounds, the smells. The smell of animals and burning meat must have been intense. I suppose it smelled a lot like a very large barbecue (yum!).

Once the Temple fell and Judaism moved more toward what we know today, we stopped sacrificing animals. In so doing, did we sacrifice the overwhelming sensory experience? Sure, today...

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In Vayak’heil/P’kudei, we read about the engagement of the whole people in building the Mishkan, a dwelling place on earth for God in which religious rituals can be observed. The recently freed people use their own means to build the Mishkan, its furnishings, and the clothes for the Cohanim.

It is a huge project. The men and women are called to make “gifts of the heart” for the Eternal, in other words, the materials needed for the construction, according to the design God had given. In addition, all “wise-hearted people” (the skilled artisans), men and women, are instructed to use...

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