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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.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

11/20/2020 11:19:45 AM


          Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Toldot, in which we read about the birth of and struggle between the twin sons of Isaac and Rebecca: Jacob and Esau. There’s a lot going on in this parasha, a lot of ways to read the dynamics between the brothers and between each of them and their respective parents, and many midrashim, modern and...Read more...

Heartbreak and Narrow Bridges

11/12/2020 01:52:42 PM


          Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Chayei Sarah, in which Abraham buries Sarah, ensures Isaac marries Rebecca, and then is buried alongside his wife in the Cave of Machpelah. This week’s Torah portion is called “The Life of Sarah,” though in actuality Sarah plays a pretty small role in the parasha, seeing as the first line recounts her...Read more...

Nibbles, Noshes & Nachas

11/10/2020 01:27:01 PM


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

Resurrection, Revitalization, Rejewvenation

11/06/2020 10:29:15 AM


          Shabbat Shalom. This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Vayera, which begins with Abraham welcoming in strangers who may or may not be messengers of God but in any case, foretell that barren Sarah will give birth to a son within a year. The parasha ends with Abraham nearly sacrificing that son. The haftarah for this week mirrors these two bookends as well. The...Read more...

And You Shall Be a Blessing

10/30/2020 12:03:42 PM


          Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Lech Lecha. Tomorrow, we will hear our Bar Mitzah chant from the Torah the parasha from his birthday weekend, Parashat Pinchas, but the rescheduled date for his ceremony and celebration also suits this momentous occasion.

          In Lech Lecha, God tells Abram to “Go forth, from the land of your birth to a new land that I will show you.” And Abram does. He takes his wife and nephew and some friends and workers and they leave Mesopotamia to settle in the Holy Land and start a new life, a new world built with a vision of monotheism and Divine Justice.   At thirteen, Preston certainly isn’t being kicked out of his parents’ house to a new land, especially not during a pandemic with quarantine suggestions, but he is being asked now to embrace the covenant set forth in this parasha. As they become “Children on the Commandment” (what “Bar Mitzvah” really means), we ask our young people to take up the cause for justice and living in the image of God, continuing the legacy of our father Abraham. Read more...

Lions and Tigers and Bears!

10/23/2020 02:03:10 PM


          Shabbat Shalom! As you know, this week’s Torah portion is Parashat Noah and we are celebrating the animals! There is so much we can learn from animal behavior, and opportunities to model ourselves after the pure nature of our furry loved ones. Talmud Bavli teaches, “Rabbi Yochanan said: ‘Had we not been given the Torah, we would have been able to learn...Read more...

Creation, Beginnings, and Imagining a New World

10/16/2020 12:28:53 PM


            Shabbat Shalom! This week we read Parashat Bereshit in its entirety. After weeks of holidays, and getting the teaser at Simchat Torah last Shabbat, now we are fully read to start reading the Torah anew, beginning with creation.

            Creation doesn’t...

Nibbles, Noshes & Nachas

10/14/2020 11:49:48 AM


Nibbles, Noshes & Nachas

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

Nibbles, Noshes & Nachas

10/02/2020 01:17:06 PM


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


Water is Life

10/02/2020 01:04:20 PM


          Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach! Tonight we celebrate Sukkot, our Jewish harvest festival. It is often a time for feeling connected to nature, as we celebrate outside and many people have a practice of decorating the sukkah exclusively with organic material, such as foodstuffs and other plants. Next week, as Sukkot gives way to Simchat Torah, the season...Read more...

Honoring Our Ancestors and Our Faith

09/26/2020 01:17:30 PM


Good afternoon. The Torah portion for Yom Kippur afternoon, which we did not read this year due to our unusual circumstances, opens with, “You shall be holy, for I, the Lord Your God, am holy. You shall each honor your mother and father and keep the sabbath; I the Lord am Holy.” It continues on with what is known as our Holiness Code, which as you can see already from this one line bears great resemblance to our...Read more...

Fasts, Feeding, and Family

09/26/2020 01:08:11 PM


Boker Tov and Shana Tova. I am guessing right about now most of you are hungry. Some of you may be fasting, and the discomfort of it is really starting to hit. Some of you may not be fasting, but it is getting to be pretty late into the morning and maybe you’re starting to think about lunch. We usually spend a lot of Yom Kippur in prayer, conversation, study, and maybe sneak in a nap – anything to keep our minds...Read more...

Minhag, Morals, and Commitments

09/26/2020 01:02:53 PM


Tzom Tov, everyone. As always, I want to remind everyone that these next 24 hours or so are about spiritual purification, introspection, compassion, and true growth. Fasting may help us rid our bodies of physical or spiritual toxins, remove distractions from our prayer, and inspire empathy for those who go hungry daily. Fasting may also harm our bodies or our mental health, add the distraction of...Read more...

Commitment, Covenants, and Civic Duties

09/25/2020 12:06:33 PM


           Shabbat Shalom. This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Ha’azinu, which means “Give ear” and records the final song of Moses as he calls down heaven and earth as witnesses to the Israelites final acceptance of the covenant before he dies and they enter the holy land.

            We stand now on a similar, though hopefully less dramatic, precipice. Much has happened in this year that highlighted and accelerated issues our country has long faced. We may soon see a transition of power like that of Moses to Joshua, but regardless of who is at the head of the nation, we are all responsible for ensuring justice for everyone, and promoting peace among our neighbors. Read more...

The Binding of Isaac

09/18/2020 11:21:03 AM


          Shana Tova! A couple of years ago I came across a Spotify playlist called, “This is Real and You are Completely Unprepared,” named after a book by the same name which walks the reader through the whole High Holy Day season. The playlist, I believe curated by a rabbinical student, is full of songs on the themes of apologies, forgiveness, faith, and so on. It...Read more...

Nibbles, Noshes, & Nachas

09/17/2020 12:45:19 PM


Latkes and Lights

Leaders, Leadership, and Legacy

09/11/2020 01:40:41 PM


            Shabbat Shalom. This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Nitzavim-Vayeilech, a double portion. Nitzavim tells us of the nearness of Torah and the need for each person and their descendants to choose it for themselves. Vayeilech tells us of Moses’s preparations to die, his conferring leadership once and for all fully to Joshua, and...Read more...

Multiply Blessings through Mutual Aid

09/04/2020 12:21:57 PM


            Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Ki Tavo. We read about the practice of tithing the first fruits of the field, followed by some great political theater in which Moses splits up the tribes and sends them to two different mountains, then calls out blessings to one mountain and that half of the Israelites all say, “Amen!” and...Read more...

Nibbles, Noshes & Nachas

09/04/2020 11:07:06 AM


Latkes and Lights

Progressive Principles in the Parasha

08/28/2020 02:56:03 PM


            Shabbat Shalom. This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Ki Teitzei, which includes many commandments that may seem problematic for our modern sensitivities, but were actually incredibly revolutionary for their time. Commenting on an earlier part of Deuteronomy, Nachmanides says, “It is impossible to mention in the Torah all human conduct with...Read more...

Nibbles, Noshes, and Nachas

08/21/2020 11:52:52 AM


Nibbles, Noshes & Nachas Latkes and Lights

Judges, Judgements, and Justice

08/21/2020 10:30:29 AM


            Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Shoftim, which is unlike much of Deuteronomy in that it actually introduces some new laws rather than being primarily recaps of previous Moses speeches. This parasha is concerned with the leadership of the Jewish people, how we are to govern ourselves, who to trust as prophets, judges, and...Read more...

Special Guest D'var Torah!

08/14/2020 11:30:34 AM


Shabbat Shalom! My name is Ava Gadon and I am a second year Education Fellow at the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life. I currently live in Jackson, MS, but I am originally from New Jersey. If you have questions about how I got from there to here or want to tease me about being...Read more...

Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Communities

08/07/2020 12:39:41 PM


            Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Eikev, in which Moses continues his long final address to the Israelites, warning them to remember that all their good fortune derives from God and any loss of faith in God will have disastrous results for them. Part of this includes what comes to be the second paragraph of the v’ahavta in traditional prayer books –...Read more...

Love, Legacies, and Leaving

07/31/2020 01:06:15 PM


            Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat VaEtchanan, which means, “And I pleaded.” It starts off with Moses sharing an incredibly vulnerable moment in which he pleaded with God to allow him to enter the Promised Land, and God shut him down. But then he continues, “And now, O Israel, give heed to the laws and rules that I am...Read more...

Nibbles, Noshes, & Nachas

07/30/2020 09:59:46 AM


Latkes and Lights

Nibbles, Noshes, & Nachas

07/17/2020 05:05:46 PM


  Latkes and Lights

Crisis: Climate or Otherwise

07/10/2020 12:23:07 PM


                Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Pinchas, in which we read briefly of God’s praise over Pinchas the priest killing an Israelite man and a Midianite woman for coupling. The Torah then segues on to another census, and the story of five daughters claiming their father’s portion of land since he left no son to inherit his estate....Read more...

Nibbles, Noshes, and Nachas

07/03/2020 03:30:47 PM


  Latkes and Lights

Leadership, Love, and Life

06/26/2020 01:47:21 PM


            Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Korach, the story of a man who gathered supporters and challenged Moses’s authority. We had a very interesting conversation about this in our Torah study this week, and in the end I think I came around to understanding the traditional commentaries on this parasha and God’s extreme reactions. However, I still want to...Read more...

Tue, December 1 2020 15 Kislev 5781