Voices of WRJ

This weekly blog series, published on Fridays, features insights from WRJ leaders on the Torah portions from a women's perspective. Enhance your Torah learning and understanding by adding Voices to your reading list.

Parashat Balak

Blair C. Marks
June 30, 2023

This week we encounter the strange tale of Balak (king of Moab,) Balaam (a non-Israelite prophet,) and Balaam’s she-donkey, who, like most of the females in the Torah, has no name. Let’s call her Jennie, which, after all, is the term for a she-donkey. 


Parashat Korach

fredi Bleeker Franks
June 23, 2023
How many times have we reacted angrily to someone’s comments when taking a moment to reflect would have resulted in a calmer discussion and potentially a better outcome? As leaders in our Sisterhoods and women’s groups, we are often faced with women who challenge our ideas, disrupt our meetings, or fail to follow through on promised activities. When faced with a challenging conversation, sometimes taking a moment just to breathe is the most helpful thing we can do.

Parashat Sh’lach L’cha

Gayle Kipp
June 16, 2023

Parashat Sh’lach L’cha (“Send for Yourself”), Numbers 13:1–15:41, tells the dramatic story of Israelite scouts going into Canaan to survey and report on the land’s inhabitants and natural resources. The story continues with the community’s reaction to the...

Parashat B'haalot'cha

Lillian Burkenheim Silver
June 9, 2023

I was eight, sitting in my Hebrew class on a hot Tuesday afternoon after school. Cantor Wagner entered the room, sat down on the teacher’s desk, and took off his watch. He held it up and looked at each of us. The watch looked expensive to me. Holding it up...

Parashat Naso I

Cantor Sarah Beck-Berman
May 25, 2023
If we read this passage from the perspective of a society which has conquered inequality, then perhaps we would be justified in dismissing it as entirely irrelevant to us. If we read it, however, from the perspective of a society which still struggles and strives for equality, then what can we learn from this and other places in the Torah which step toward egalitarianism or equality without fully embracing it?