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Community Blog

01/10/2020 11:28:41 AM

Jan10

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

Minorities, Marginalized, and Manhandled

06/24/2022 05:03:19 PM

Jun24

    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

Jun17

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

Jun10

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

Jun5

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

Jun5

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

May23

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

May18

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

May6

Shabbat Shalom! It is time to count the Omer.

BA-RUCH A-TAH ADO-NAI E-LO-HE-NU ME-LECH HA-OLAM ASHER KID-E-SHA-NU BE-MITZ-VO-TAV VETZI-VA-NU AL SEFI-RAT...Read more...

Scapegoats, Strength, and Sovereignty

04/29/2022 10:10:32 AM

Apr29

Shabbat Shalom! It is time to count the Omer. 

BA-RUCH A-TAH ADO-NAI E-LO-HE-NU ME-LECH HA-OLAM ASHER KID-E-SHA-NU BE-MITZ-VO-TAV VETZI-VA-NU AL SEFI-RAT HA-OMER.

Read more...

Teal Shabbat - Parashat Metzora

04/08/2022 04:02:40 PM

Apr8

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

Apr8

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

Mar25

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

Mar11

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

Mar3

           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

Feb23

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

Read more...

Adversity, Apartheid, and Achievement

02/11/2022 12:47:27 PM

Feb11

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

Feb4

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

Jan28

"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

Jan14

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

Jan6

          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

Dec23

Nibbles, Noshes & Nachas

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

Assimilation, Chanukah, and Joseph

12/03/2021 02:01:30 PM

Dec3

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach! Chanukah is at its core a holiday about embracing freedom of religion, a pride in being Jewish, and a refusal to change just for the sake of fitting in with those in power. As modern, progressive Jews, we have changed ourselves a bit to keep up with the times, but we maintain our Jewishness and can still appreciate our ancestors who fought for our right to do so. The emphasis of the miracle of the...Read more...

Nibbles, Noshes, & Nachas

11/29/2021 01:25:43 PM

Nov29

Read more...

Conspiring, Consequences, and Collateral 

11/12/2021 11:32:32 AM

Nov12

     Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Vayetzei, in which Jacob runs off to his uncle Laban’s house to escape his brother Esau, who in last week’s parasha he twice deceived and claimed what was rightfully Esau’s. In this week’s parasha, Jacob meets and immediately falls in love with Laban’s daughter Rachel. However, in the light of the morning after the wedding, he discovers that the...Read more...

Nothing About Us Without Us

11/05/2021 07:04:51 PM

Nov5

          Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Toldot, in which we read about the birth of Jacob and Esau, the twin sons of Rebecca and Isaac. In the beginning of the parasha, the Torah tells us, “Isaac pleaded lenokhah ishto” (Genesis 25:21). Most commonly, this is translated as “on behalf of his wife,” but Rabbi Shai Held points out in his...Read more...

Voices, Visions, and Variety

10/15/2021 11:18:54 AM

Oct15

       Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Lech-Lecha, in which we start to learn about Abram. God forms a special covenant with Abram in this parasha which serves to effectively be the betrothal with the Hebrews that will develop into the ketubah signed with the Israelites at Mount Sinai. This parasha shows us a momentous moment and relationship for our peoplehood and faith, but...Read more...

Nibbles, Noshes, and Nachas

10/13/2021 10:06:22 AM

Oct13

Nibbles, Noshes & Nachas

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

Faith and Fantastical Beasts

10/08/2021 01:17:17 PM

Oct8

     Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is, of course, Parashat Noach, in which we read about the story of Noah’s ark, the flood that covered the whole earth, and finally a strange little story about a group of people that tried to build a tower up to heaven and were punished with the creation of multiple languages. 

     I am often pretty ungenerous in my reading of...Read more...

Blessings, Beasts, Bereshit

10/02/2021 09:07:47 AM

Oct2

Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Bereshit, the beginning of it all! In chapter two of Genesis, we read that God presented the first human with animals to keep the human company and for them to be in partnership over the earth. The exact meaning of the verses are unclear, because it appears to be telling us that God created the animals with this purpose, although chapter one tells us that the animals were...Read more...

Nibbles, Noshes & Nachas

09/29/2021 12:34:56 PM

Sep29

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

Read more...
Tue, June 28 2022 29 Sivan 5782