WRJ's Blog

Abraham Geiger College, one of WRJ’s YES Fund recipients, asked WRJ to send a representative to Berlin for the 80th anniversary commemorative events of Kristallnacht, including special services, concerts, art exhibitions and panel discussions. It was my honor to be representing WRJ at these events.

November 9, 2018

We began the day with Rosh Chodesh Kislev services organized by Abraham Geiger College. The service was led by a graduate of the cantorial program, a current cantorial student, and one of WRJ’s grantees at Geiger College, rabbinical student Jasmin Adriani.


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The setting is in the land of Shechem in Canaan, where Jacob and his family are staying after their brief reconciliation with his brother Esau. Usually, I would begin by summarizing the story but we run into problems right from the second sentence:

“Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land. When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area saw her, he took her and …… ??????”

Some versions read “raped” her, others “subdued” or simply “lay with” her.  Sexual intercourse is obviously implied, but was it consensual on...

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In this week’s Torah portion Jacob is fleeing from his brother and is on his way to Haran when he stops at a “certain place” (Genesis 28:11). He settles in for the night, uses a stone as a pillow, and has a dream. Yes, that dream, of ladders and angels and the comfort of the eternal.

When Jacob arrives in his stopping point for the night it is described merely as a “certain place,” not a sacred place or a holy place, not even a named place. It is simply a spot between where he has been and where he is going.

Rabbi Rabbi Allison RH Conyer...

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The story of Rebekah can be a great cautionary tale of how not to be a “good Jewish mother.” You know the stereotype: an anxious mother who fawns over her children and then uses guilt to get her children to make the choices she wants them to make.

Like that “good Jewish mother,” Rebekah frets over the well-being of her children. She wants them to grow up to be the people she wants them to be.  She mettles with their life’s paths even when they are in their 40’s. She hasn’t learned to let go at all, especially in the case of Jacob.

Rebekah plays favorites. She schemes in...

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In February 2017, the community of Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto created seven “Rings of Peace” to surround local mosques after a gunman killed six worshippers at a Quebec mosque. After the massacre of eleven worshippers at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the Toronto Muslim community reciprocated the “Ring of Peace” for the local Jewish community. Below, the author shares her experience of that day.

One word states this particular Shabbat...

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