Although this parashah means “Life of Sarah,” we learn instead about her death at age 127 and Abraham’s purchase of a burial place for his beloved wife. Subsequently, Abraham charges his servant to find a wife for his son Isaac to preserve the continuity of family into the next generation, and ultimately we are introduced to Rebekah who, because of her beauty, kindness, and generosity becomes the woman who Isaac loves and marries. Abraham takes another wife Keturah but when he dies at age 175, he is buried next to Sarah with both Isaac and Ishmael in attendance.
Sarah and Abraham’...Read More
It is with an incredible amount of gratitude that I serve as the clergy co-chair for the RAC’s Civic Engagement Campaign, an unprecedented and critical campaign created specifically for the 2018 midterm election season. I have volunteered with numerous political campaigns in the past, but I find particular meaning and purpose in working within this non-partisan framework through the Reform Movement, ensuring that this campaign is a unifying experience based on the values of our prophetic Jewish tradition. The campaign’s three...Read More
The first several paragraphs of Vayeira (Genesis 18:1 – 18.16) recount the story of the visit by God, in the form of 3 strangers, to inform Abraham that his wife, Sarah, at the advanced age of 90, will bear a son. It is apparent from the text that these visitors while appearing mortal, are, indeed, divine messengers of God.
We tend to view this narrative as an instructional text highlighting the importance of Isaac’s birth. At the same time, we see this as a fable: a patently impossible scenario of a post-menopausal conception and delivery. A true miracle – a Bible story....Read More
Over a decade before #MeToo took over the internet, activist Tarana Burke was working to empower and heal young survivors of sexual violence. In October 2017, Burke’s lifework was thrust into the national spotlight, as the phrase "Me Too" became a viral social media hashtag to shed light on the abhorrent prevalence of sexual harassment and sexual assault in society. The #MeToo movement has sparked a long-overdue public conversation about the pervasiveness of sexual misconduct and has provided a platform...Read More
I first heard Debbie Friedman’s music in 1976 at an Ohio summer camp. Twenty years later I heard “L’chi Lach”, a song Debbie Friedman and feminist biblical scholar Savina Teuba wrote based on this week’s parashah, Lecha L’cha (“go forth”). Friedman’s text uses the feminine words “l’chi lach.”
Genesis 12:1-3 tells the story of Avram and Sarai as they begin a journey of faith and to be blessed on this journey. God says, "Leave your land, your birthplace, and your father's house and go to the land that I will show you." It was difficult for Avram to leave behind everything he has...Read More