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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.

Books, Empowerment, and Dolly Parton

01/20/2023 01:58:04 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat VaEra, which includes a reiteration of God’s call to Moses, some feeble explanation of the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, Moses and Aaron’s family trees, and the first seven of the Ten Plagues. At various points in this...Read more...

A Rabbi, a Minister, and an Imam walk into a local diner...

01/20/2023 01:56:17 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Vayechi, in which Jacob gives his final blessings to his children. He also declares that Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Menashe will be inheritors of Israel as equal as any of Joseph’s own brothers. Jacob prophesies that Ephraim, the younger,...Read more...

Chanukah Shabbat

01/20/2023 01:55:09 PM


Shabbat Shalom and Chag Urim Sameach. This week's Torah portion is Parashat Miketz, in which we hear about Pharaoh's dreams that Joseph correctly interprets as portending 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine. Both Pharaoh and Joseph jump into action...Read more...

Shabbat, Gratitude, and Dinosaurs

11/18/2022 01:59:42 PM


Shabbat Shalom! As you know, this is our first Family Shabbat of the school year, and since many of our religious school families were not sure they could attend, I wanted to collect some thoughts from our students and their parents to still imbue this service with their presence. This Shabbat is also the reading of Parashat Chayei Sarah, and unknowingly our students and their parents reflected...Read more...

Put an End to Child Sacrifice

11/11/2022 01:33:07 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Vayera and contains the story of the Akeidah which we read on Rosh HaShana. In accordance with my message on Rosh HaShana, Rabbis Against Gun Violence led by Rabbi Menachem Creditor has issued a call to...Read more...

Abraham's Animals

11/04/2022 02:41:30 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Lech Lecha, in which God calls out to our ancestors Avram and Sarai and tells them to leave the land they have known and travel a great distance to the Promised Land. They bring with them some family and all their wealth,...Read more...

In the Beginning....

10/21/2022 02:39:34 PM


    In the beginning… So begins our Torah anew, or at least according to most English translations. I assumed everyone present knows at least the basics of our Creation story. There was a primordial void, and God spoke the Universe into being. God made people and set them over the Earth to be...Read more...

Water is Life

10/14/2022 02:46:16 PM


Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach! Sukkot is a time for gratitude and joy, focusing on two particular blessings for which we must be grateful and express our joy over. These are the blessings of housing, which I spoke about to some degree on Rosh HaShana, and the blessings of the...Read more...

Singing, Simcha, and Songs of Praise

10/07/2022 07:15:15 PM


    Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Ha’azinu, Moses’s final address to the Israelites recounted in the form of a song. The Haftarah this week comes from II Samuel, chapter 22, and is also a song - the song David sings after David has defeated both Saul and the Philistines,...Read more...

Choose Hope

10/04/2022 02:53:58 PM


Tzaharayim Tov! We arc toward the final hours of our holy day and our season of Teshuva, and we remind ourselves once more to choose hope, and as the Torah tells us, to choose life. This afternoon’s Torah portion comes from Parashat Kedoshim, known as the Holiness Code, which details many of...Read more...

Housing: Lo BaShamayim Hee

10/04/2022 02:47:44 PM


    Boker Tov, and Tzom Kal. I hope you are having a soul-refreshing morning and a meaningful fast. This morning, as we engage in our personal and communal teshuvah, our Torah portion comes from parts of chapters 29 and 30 from Deuteronomy, reminding us of the essential equalizer that is the Torah. I...Read more...

Self-Care and Self-Affliction

10/04/2022 02:32:26 PM


Erev Tov. I hope your fasts are starting off easily and meaningfully, and that you are taking good care of your body these next 24 hours. I say that every year, because the emphasis on fasting during Yom Kippur can be dangerous or alienating to some people and I always worry about people who...Read more...

Reading, Writing, and Torah

09/30/2022 01:20:22 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Vayeilech, in which Moses and Joshua make their final preparations for the succession of leadership after Moses’s death. There are several mentions in this parasha to “haTorah” - the teaching of Moses. We almost never translate Torah. We...Read more...

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.


Sun, January 29 2023 7 Shevat 5783