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Community Blog

01/10/2020 11:28:41 AM


Welcome! Check out Rabbi Lizz's divrei Torah and other community updates here.

Sacrifice, Safety, and Security

09/25/2022 02:30:56 PM


    Shana Tova! Our Torah reading on Rosh HaShana morning is probably the most difficult reading in our liturgical calendar. There are many other pieces of the TaNaKh similarly disturbing, and stories some Biblical scholars call “Texts of Terror,” but the Akeidah is so deeply disturbing on...Read more...

Hope is a Choice

09/25/2022 02:22:55 PM


Gut Yontif! We embark on our ten day journey through the soul tonight. Some of us may have been preparing for this journey since Selichot last weekend, or throughout the previous month of Elul, and some may just be along for the ride. But whether you’ve done deep soul work or whether it was just...Read more...

Torah of Consolation 

09/23/2022 07:09:54 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Nitzavim, which we read again on Yom Kippur and will hear more about then. The Haftarah this week, from Isaiah chapters 61-63, is the final of seven Haftarot of Consolation, read in the seven weeks between Tisha B’Av and Rosh HaShana. In it, the prophet tells of the shared pain of God and the Heavenly Hosts along with the people of Israel as they endure the hardships of...Read more...

Balance, Blessings, and Breathing

09/16/2022 01:03:52 PM


    Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Ki Tavo, in which again Moses reminds the people of the various commandments they will be expected to follow and more details are given to the ritual that will take place immediately after entering the land. A few weeks ago,...Read more...

Law and Order or [Social] Justice?

09/09/2022 05:55:44 PM


Shabbat Shalom, and welcome to all our guests! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Ki Teitze, in which we find more laws than in any other parasha in the whole Torah, even the one named “Laws”. Among the lists of commandments in this portion are the rules regarding...Read more...

Debts, Remission, and Relief

08/26/2022 01:10:08 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Re’eh, in which we are promised with more blessings and curses according to our obedience to God’s law. We are also reminded how, where, and when we may consume the flesh of another living thing, and commanded to observe...Read more...

Binding, Binaries, and Breaking Free

08/19/2022 11:52:55 AM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Eikev, in which - like most of Deuteronomy - Moses reminds the people of all they have learned in the last 40 years, the commandments they have been commanded to observe, the times they fell short, and what will happen once...Read more...

Venom, Vipers, and Vibes

07/08/2022 01:45:44 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Chukat, in which the esoteric ritual of the Red Heifer is described and performed, Miriam and Aaron both die, Moses hits a rock for water and is punished with the decree of not entering the Holy Land, and then fiery serpents attack the Israelites. After Miriam dies, the wells dry up, and the people once again start complaining about the lack of water and fun snacks, so God sends these...Read more...

When the Law is unjust, we break the Law                                    

07/01/2022 10:34:40 AM


          Last week, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, withdrawing the already paltry federal protections on abortion rights. Many states already had trigger laws in place and abortion access became unavailable to thousands of people overnight. Congress had 50 years to codify federal legislation to allow reproductive freedom throughout the country. A leak of the...Read more...

Minorities, Marginalized, and Manhandled

06/24/2022 05:03:19 PM


    Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Shelach, in which God instructs Moses to send forth 12 agents, one from each tribe, to scout out the Promised Land and the people who already live there. Ten of the twelve come back terrified of the prospect of conquering the land. They say...Read more...

Kids, Kvetching, and Care

06/17/2022 04:38:50 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Beha’alot’cha, which begins with the instructions and then follow-through of the lighting of the menorot in the Mishkan, along with the initiation ceremony of the Levites. We also read of the Israelites’ constant...Read more...

Hearing the Divine Voice

06/10/2022 02:59:52 PM


Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Naso, in which we learn of some more specifics around the roles of various sub-clans of the Levite tribe, we learn the ritual of the Sota (the suspected adultress) and the laws of the nazirite (a temporary ascetic vow to God), followed by the Priestly...Read more...

Wisdom From Our Confirmands

06/05/2022 02:41:29 PM


This Shabbat we celebrated the confirmation of two of our students at Ner Shalom. They prepared this service, not only by reviewing the prayers they learned in their previous 6 years of Religious School, but by applying what we learned about Israel this year and using their increased wisdom of these two more years of Jewish life as they confirm the commitment to their Jewish identities displayed at their B'nai Mitzvah. These original words of...Read more...

Rest is Resistance

06/05/2022 02:39:45 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week's Torah portion is Parashat Bechukotai, in which God details some of the consequences of ignoring the land-based commandments (exile and agricultural ruin) and then goes on to explain the concept and laws of Jubilee. In the previous parasha, we received the...Read more...

Prince William County Human Rights Commission

05/23/2022 10:55:32 AM


The Prince William County Human Rights Commission mission is to eliminate discrimination in our county by enforcing our civil and human rights laws and to establish equal opportunity for all persons within Prince William County through communication, education, and accessibility. To file a complaint or learn more about your Human Rights, please contact the Prince William County Human Rights office or visit our website at...Read more...

Matrilineal, Patrilineal, and Complex Identities

05/18/2022 07:52:28 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Emor, which mostly contains more laws that apply only to priests: who they can marry, how to offer sacrifices, which relatives they are allowed to attend the burials for. It also contains the calendar of holidays bestowed upon...Read more...

Holiness, Wholeness, and Harmony

05/06/2022 01:41:00 PM


Shabbat Shalom! It is time to count the Omer.


Scapegoats, Strength, and Sovereignty

04/29/2022 10:10:32 AM


Shabbat Shalom! It is time to count the Omer. 



Teal Shabbat - Parashat Metzora

04/08/2022 04:02:40 PM


Shabbat Shalom. This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Metzora, the continuation of last week’s discussion of the laws of tzara’at, the skin disease sometimes translated as leprosy but which almost certainly is not, the infection that can spread beyond the skin to clothes and house, the...Read more...

Hope, Healing, and Happiness

04/08/2022 04:01:05 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week's Torah portion is Parashat Tazria, in which a number of laws regarding bodily purity are enumerated: how to purify after a skin disease, how to purify after childbirth, how to purify if some kind of mold or infection (the scientific specifics are very unclean) spreads over a house and...Read more...

Creative Lessons from Teens and Tweens

03/25/2022 12:24:24 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Shemini, which opens with a disturbing story of two sons of Aaron. Nadav and Avihu bring a “strange fire” into the Mishkan as an offering of God, despite the last 8 chapters of very details rules and explanations of what kind of sacrifices God expects now that the Mishkan is ready. As a result, God smites the brothers dead. Then abruptly the parasha shifts to discuss which...Read more...

Sharing, Sh'lamim, Shalom 

03/11/2022 02:34:08 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Vayikra, the beginning of the Book of Leviticus, in which God gives Moses many details describing the types of sacrifices God expects now that the Mishkan is fully built. At least four categories of sacrifices are named (elective burnt offerings, the peace offering, the sin offering, and the guilt offering), with multiple variations within each category to allow for what type...Read more...

Parashat Pekudei: Making Space                             

03/03/2022 09:22:25 AM


           Some weeks feel like there is just so much ungodliness in the world; it’s hard to know where to even begin shining the light of Torah. I believe in the power of Torah, of the Divine, of our spiritual connections, to help clear away the shadows of sadness and fear, but sometimes there are just too many shadows to get all of them, and I just...Read more...

Nibbles, Noshes & Nachas

02/23/2022 09:00:45 AM


Nachas-A Yiddish word meaning that you are happy and proud, especially of the accomplishments of your children


Adversity, Apartheid, and Achievement

02/11/2022 12:47:27 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Tetzaveh, continuing the instructions for the building of the Mishkan. This week’s set of directions focus mostly on accoutrements - the menorah, the oil, and the priests’ vestments. The very first line of the parasha is “You shall further instruct the Israelites to bring you clear oil of beaten olives for lighting, for kindling lamps regularly.” The Talmud comments on...Read more...

Gifts of the Heart 

02/04/2022 01:48:53 PM


Shabbat Shalom. I have been rereading the young adult novel I Was A Teenage Fairy by Francesca Lia Block with a group of people I met through the Harry Potter and the Sacred Text community. We are applying the skills of deep and sacred reading practices to this short work of magical realism. It has been very enriching. This past week, the sentence we focused on in our close reading was, “I only wish my mother had taken the time to...Read more...

Healthcare, Hystera, and Halakha

01/28/2022 11:08:34 AM


"At 16 weeks [pregnant], I had an abortion. My son was diagnosed with a fetal anomaly that was 100% incompatible with life. I lived in Texas where the laws (Texas House Bill 2) at the time prevented me from getting the abortion care that I needed at the time that I wanted it. There was a 3-4 week waiting list as well as a 3-4 day process. The laws had such a profound impact on my mental and emotional health that I ended up traveling...Read more...

Provisions, Protection, and Parshanut

01/14/2022 01:50:38 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Beshallah in which the Israelites finally depart from their slave homes in Egypt. The parasha opens, “Now when Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although it was nearer; for God said, ‘The people may have a change of heart when they see war, and return to Egypt.’ So God led the people roundabout, by way of the...Read more...

Parashat Bo: We Are Always Waiting to See if Rome Burns          

01/06/2022 02:50:26 PM


          For the last several years since I first read Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg’s The Particulars of Rapture: Reflections on Exodus, Parashat Bo immediately calls to mind her phrasing, “motionless tableau of leaving,” a “tableau of release” (page 165). There are many nuggets of wisdom I have learned from the four books of hers that I have read, but few have so...Read more...

Nibbles, Noshes, and Nachas

12/23/2021 03:52:17 PM


Nibbles, Noshes & Nachas

Nachas-A Yiddish word meaning that you are happy and proud, especially of the...Read more...

Fri, September 30 2022 5 Tishrei 5783