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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.

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...

Juneteenth, Jews, and Joshua

06/19/2020 03:46:42 PM


Shabbat Shalom. Today is Juneteenth, the celebration of word reaching the last outpost of slavery that the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed. Although it is widely celebrated in Black communities, I and many white people were only vaguely aware of it until this year. Thanks to a combination of factors and the admirable work of Black leaders, there is a lot of talk about this day and what it means, what freedom means in this county,...Read more...

Nibbles, Noshes & Nachas

06/18/2020 01:04:29 PM


Latkes and Lights

Climate Change, Racism, and Judaism

06/12/2020 05:24:41 PM


            Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat B’ha’alot’cha, which opens with the mounting of the menorah in the Mishkan. As it goes on, we hear about the whining of the people who were bored of their matzah and wanted meat. The Torah tells us:


Summer Series!

06/09/2020 02:59:49 PM


Congregation Ner Shalom is sponsoring a Summer Series of guest lectures and educational modules, meeting on Zoom Tuesdays at 1 throughout the Summer starting June 30th. These offerings will help us keep our community connection as well as enhance our general knowledge and understandings in this time of COVID-19.   Our topics include Presidential Ethics and the Ethics of the Presidency; Aesthetic Surgery, The Jews, and the Invention...Read more...

Blessings, Knees, and Justice

06/05/2020 01:10:23 PM


Shabbat Shalom. This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Naso, part two in the Reform world. It includes the Priestly Blessing (Numbers 6:24-26):

יְבָרֶכְךָ֥ יְהוָ֖ה וְיִשְׁמְרֶֽךָ׃ (ס)

The LORD will bless you and protect you!

יָאֵ֨ר יְהוָ֧ה ׀ פָּנָ֛יו אֵלֶ֖יךָ וִֽיחֻנֶּֽךָּ׃ (ס)

Nibbles, Noshes, and Nachas

06/04/2020 10:57:51 AM



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05/24/2020 10:27:21 AM


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Counting, Community, Census

05/22/2020 03:44:23 PM


Shabbat Shalom! It is time to count the Omer!   

            Today is 44 days, which is six weeks and two days of the Omer. The kabbalistic realm of this Shabbat is strength in majesty.

            This week’s Torah portion, Parashat Bamidbar, tells us of the census of the Israelite people in the...Read more...

Blessings, Curses, and Hitting the Reset Button

05/15/2020 12:53:16 PM


Shabbat Shalom!

היום שבעה ושלשים יום שהם חמשה שבועות ושני ימים לעומר

Today is 37 days, which is five weeks and two days of the Omer. The kabbalistic realm of this Shabbat is loving-kindness in foundation. Rabbi Amber Powers writes the following kavannah for this day:...Read more...

Parashat Emor

05/08/2020 02:33:57 PM


Shabbat Shalom!

Today is 30 days, which is four weeks and two days of the Omer. The kabbalistic realm of this Shabbat strength within majesty or humility.

            In this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Emor, we see some more rules laid out for the Kohanim, including the rule that a...Read more...

Tue, September 29 2020 11 Tishrei 5781