Crossing Over

Josh Rodriguez
May 9, 2023
I’m feeling very peaceful today. I went to the mikvah this morning. I was a little nervous, just because official rites of passage can be a little scary. But I knew everyone was going to be super nice and supportive (and they were!).

Parashat Emor: Order and Chaos

Deborah Wilfond
May 5, 2023
On the surface, this parashah deals with separating things: life and death, celebration and self-denial, holy and unholy, perfect and blemished. Yet, we know that the real world is much more complicated.   Our existence cannot be arranged into perfectly neat categories. Illness and death are part of the way of things, the cycle of the seasons. Our grasp on life is more fragile than we realize. Our attempts at classification and hierarchy often contradict the multifaceted nature of our world. Chaos and order are both the stuff of our existence.

Earth Day, WRJ, and the Power for Purpose 2023 Campaign for Climate Justice

Andrea Stillman
April 21, 2023
The moment I knew I had to get more involved was when I watched a news story of a mother holding a child that was sick and limp after years of drinking contaminated water. I have seen too many of those news stories and have known too many people who are suffering because of what has been done to our environment. To me, fighting climate change is synonymous with fighting for others to be able to live as full and long a life as possible.

Parashat Sh'mini

Shoshana Dweck, VP of Social Justice, Temple Shaaray Tefila, Bedford Corners, NY
April 14, 2023
Parashat Sh'mini (Leviticus 9:1-11:47) starts with expectation, celebration, and solemn excitement. Aaron and his sons have just been ordained as the first priests. Step by detailed step, we follow along as Moses gives the instructions to Aaron, the priests, and the elders of the people, and they conduct the rituals to offer their first sacrifices. There is awe and wonder and the singing of praises. But suddenly, everything goes terribly awry.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Shoshana Dweck, VP of Social Justice, Temple Shaaray Tefila, Bedford Corners, NY
Talia Shapiro Blank
April 14, 2023
April marks the annual recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). WRJ is committed to addressing the discrimination many of us, unfortunately, have witnessed or experienced. As we look around our synagogues, it’s important to be aware that if you dig deep enough, you will find many people have stories. When we allow space for vulnerability and sharing, it keeps people from suffering in silence and allows room for change. For that change to make a lasting impact, it takes commitment from all members of a congregation or community.

Increasing Access to Paid Leave

April 7, 2023

February 5th marked the 30th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which guarantees eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year to care for a newborn, a newly adopted child, a seriously ill family member, or to recover from...

Our Hidden Stories

Trish Joseph
Trina Novak
Shoshana Dweck, VP of Social Justice, Temple Shaaray Tefila, Bedford Corners, NY
April 7, 2023
Nearly all of us have been harassed, assaulted, or both at some time in our lives. We typically don’t discuss this and may not even admit it to ourselves. These are our hidden stories. Telling these stories was difficult, but we felt “lighter” afterward. It was no longer a burden on our souls. By sharing these stories and working on the WRJ says STOP Initiative, we feel we can change the culture in these sacred spaces.

Chol HaMo-eid Pesach

Karen Sim, WRJ First Vice President, Isaac M. Wise Temple, Cincinnati, OH
April 7, 2023

When I was asked to write a D’var Torah for Chol Ha-Moed Pesach, I, of course, accepted this honor. When I went to prepare, to my surprise, I  found that Chol Ha-Moed was not the name of a Torah portion. I learned that Chol Ha-Moed Pesach refers to the...