This week’s Torah portion, Va'era, is perhaps the most recognized parashah, because it introduces Pharaoh’s refusal to let the Jewish people leave Egypt and the drama of the plagues as God’s response. The portion begins, however, with God’s revelation of God’s true name. Va'era is Hebrew for "and I appeared," the first word that God speaks in the parashah.
How well did our spiritual ancestors really know God? Va’era explains that they did not know God well enough at that moment in their journey to trust the message Moses was asked to share with them. Moses not only had to persuade...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...Read More
This week’s parashat, Sh’mot from the book of Exodus, is about two heroic women who were not afraid of overcoming challenges in order to do what they knew to be right. The two heroines in the parashat are Egyptian midwives, Shiphrah and Puah. The midwives were instructed by Pharaoh, the King of Egypt, to obey his every order when it came helping the Hebrew women deliver their babies; “When you deliver the Hebrew women, look at the birthstool: If it is a boy, kill him, if it is a girl let her live” (verse 1:16). The midwives shocked by their orders and fearful of God decided to ignore...Read More
Last week, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the First Step Act (S.756), a bipartisan bill that will begin to address some of the flaws in the United States criminal justice system. We urge the House to follow the Senate’s lead and pass the First Step Act unamended, even as we have concerns with the bill and commit to continuing to advocate for meaningful and comprehensive criminal justice...Read More
Parashat Va-y’chi, the last parashah in Genesis, marks the end of the stories of the patriarchs and matriarchs and foreshadows the Exodus narrative of slavery and freedom. In this portion, Jacob, the last of the patriarchs, nears the end of his life and concerns himself with his legacy and the continuity of his family. Prior to his death, Jacob adopts Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, and he bestows a deathbed blessing to his twelve sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph, and Benjamin. Ten of his sons, together with Ephraim and Manasseh,...Read More