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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.

Every Shabbat is ReproShabbat

02/03/2024 02:09:34 PM


            Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Yitro, in which Moses’s father-in-law tells him he needs to set up a governmental structure to share the work load with, because trying to attend to all of the community’s needs alone will only cause harm to himself and to the community. Later in the Parasha, Moses climbs up Mount Sinai to...Read more...


01/19/2024 01:42:55 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Bo, the last of the plagues and the beginning of the flight from Egypt into the wilderness. It contains some key verses that appear in our Passover Haggadahs, not just because Passover commemorates this story, but because the Torah itself...Read more...

Plagues, Compassion, and Responsibility

01/12/2024 03:33:43 PM


          Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Va’Era, the telling of the first 7 of the plagues. Toward the beginning of the Parasha,  7:19 says: G‑d spoke to Moses: “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your rod, and stretch out your hand upon the waters of Egypt’”. A somewhat esoteric Midrash known as the Mishnat Rabbi Eliezer explains this verse: “The first three...Read more...

Extending our Reach

01/05/2024 01:12:33 PM


          Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Shemot, the beginning of the Book of Exodus. In Hebrew, Shemot actually means Names because it starts out with a listing of the sons of Jacob, the predecessors of the Tribes of Israel. Parashat Shemot is a surprisingly jam-packed Torah portion, with so much happening somehow despite the huge time jumps. The Israelites are enslaved,...Read more...

LifeSavers and Enslavers

12/22/2023 03:50:24 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Vayigash, in which Joseph’s success in Egypt really comes to a peak. He settles his brothers in the land of Goshen, continues to prosper in Pharaoh’s palace, continues to feed those suffering in the famine, and continues to feed Pharaoh’s...Read more...

Human Rights Shabbat

12/15/2023 11:03:39 AM


This D'var Torah was written by one of our Next Gen Leaders, Mary Petracca.


This week's Torah portion is Mikeitz, in which Pharaoh is visited with unsettling dreams. In the first, seven fat, healthy cows emerge from the Nile only to be immediately devoured by seven lean,...Read more...

Better Living Through Jewish Demonology

12/01/2023 07:36:04 PM


          Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Vayishlach, in which Jacob splits up his camp in preparation of his reunion with his brother Esau, whom he believes might kill him. After sending his wives and children in one direction, Jacob himself goes for a little walk in a different direction and ends up wrestling with … someone. There are a lot of...Read more...

A D'var Torah cowritten by the religious school

11/17/2023 02:29:43 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Toldot, the story of Jacob and Esau and their sibling rivalry, which is very encouraged by their parents. Because we descend from Jacob, the ancient rabbis tended to come down pretty harsh on Esau, to justify the way he ended up being treated by...Read more...

Always Strangers in a Strange Land

11/10/2023 01:39:33 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Chayei Sarah, in which Sarah dies, Abraham purchases his first piece of land in Ha’Aretz, and Isaac gets married off to a woman he’s never met. I know I say this a lot, but there’s a lot happening in this parasha. There’s also a lot happening in the...Read more...

The Joy of Shabbat!

11/03/2023 09:50:22 AM


The Joy of Shabbat! First Fridays Fun at Ner Shalom

​​​​​​​Tonight we begin the "Joy of Shabbat"
First Fridays at Congrega

Abuse, Awareness, and Alleviation

10/27/2023 10:31:08 AM


Shabbat Shalom. This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Lech Lecha, the beginning of our people’s covenant with God, when Abraham (still Abram) first heeds God’s call. It also tells us of Sarai’s difficulty in getting pregnant, and her “giving” her maidservant Hagar to Abram as a surrogate. However, once...Read more...

Olives and All-Of-Us

10/20/2023 06:34:53 PM


Shabbat Shalom. This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Noach, the story of the Great Flood. As the flood waters recede, Noah first sends out a raven to test the land situation. The raven never comes back. One might interpret from this that there was indeed land to perch on, but without evidence, Noah was not...Read more...

The Beginning of Bloodshed

10/13/2023 03:36:30 PM


Shabbat Shalom. I have never before spoken about Israel from the bima, but I have felt devastated this week, and I cannot keep silent. I was heartbroken and worried for my people on Saturday and Sunday, alongside the rest of the Jewish world, after hearing about the largest single massacre of...Read more...

A message from our local Federation

10/08/2023 12:27:02 PM


Yesterday morning, our community awoke to the heartbreaking, deeply upsetting news of war in Israel.  
At this holy time of Shabbat

The Search for Holiness

09/24/2023 01:42:16 PM


Shalom and tzaharayim tov. Our afternoon Torah reading tells us, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” All of Jewish life can be summed up here. We are constantly on the search for holiness, to understand what it means to honor our Divine Spark, to strive to walk in God’s way. The Holiness Code, the section of Leviticus we read from this afternoon, gives us some guidance, but between God’s...Read more...

Choosing Life, When it feels like we don't have choices

09/24/2023 01:34:33 PM


Gut Yontif and Boker Tov. I hope you are all managing well through the first arc of our long fast together. This day can be hard for many of us in different ways. The Torah tells us that this day we should practice self-affliction, which the ancient rabbis later interpreted to mean fasting, as well as abstaining from a number of earthly pleasures. However, even they allowed for leniencies, and not just in cases of...Read more...

Conversos, Kol Nidre, and Continuity

09/24/2023 12:34:12 PM


          Anyada buena, dulse i alegre. Tonight we begin the final ascent of our high holy day season. After a month of introspection throughout Elul, a beautiful Rosh HaShana Seder and celebratory Rosh HaShana Day, and these ten Days of Awe, we arc toward our close with Yom Kippur. Tomorrow, many of us will be at the synagogue all day, alternating between praying, learning, kibbitzing, and...Read more...

Return, Repentance, and Repair

09/22/2023 09:03:08 AM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Ha’azinu, Moses’s song to the People of Israel right before he leaves them for good. But what makes this Shabbat really special, is that it is Shabbat Shuva, the Shabbat between Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, a Shabbat of return. The Torah...Read more...

Rosh HaShana 5784

09/17/2023 10:04:11 AM


Groovy Teshuvy, y’all. Here we are at the start of a new year, a time of possibility. Here we are at the Jewish high holy days, a time of introspection. This is the season of teshuvah (or teshuvy), a chance to repent and to return to our best selves. While we are certainly a people...Read more...

Who am I? Who are you? Who are we?

09/01/2023 12:22:35 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Ki Tavo. A lot of the parasha is about commandments, and the consequences of following or not following them, and you will hear more about that tomorrow from our Bat Mitzvah who has studied hard to understand her Torah portion. 


Labor Day and Living Wages

08/25/2023 03:58:45 PM


Shabbat Shalom!  This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Ki Teitzei, which contains the most laws of any single parasha in the Torah. Among these lists of commandments are rules regarding fair labor practices. 



The Necessity of Sanctuary

08/18/2023 04:29:08 PM


This d'var Torah was originally written for T'ruah's listserve, and appears here with some differences for a congregational delivery.


Shabbat Shalom. The first “work” I did after returning from Switzerland was to speak with Senator Kaine’s office...Read more...

Pampered Chef Party

08/17/2023 07:18:22 PM


Ner Shalom is having a Pampered Chef Party!!!! Buy some fancy gadgets for your kitchen, and support our efforts to reJEWvenate our congregation!   Specifically, these donations will support our SEA Change cohort, the team working on DEI within the congregation and connecting with local non-profits outside of our faith community. Our goal with SEA Change is to learn if there are barriers that are keeping people on the fringes or outside...Read more...

Communal and Divine Care

08/04/2023 10:09:35 PM


     Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Ekev, in which Moses reminds the people of Israel that they have taken the long route from Egypt to Israel both as a punishment for their obstinacy and as a learning opportunity, a promise of Divine care when they follow the...Read more...

Holiness, Hierarchy, and the Heart of Torah

06/23/2023 10:24:47 AM


Shabbat Shalom!  This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Korach, in which a Levite named Korach leads an Uprising against Moses and Aaron and is ultimately smote by God, with the earth opening up and swallowing whole Korach and all his...Read more...

Shelach, Shatzi, Shalom

06/16/2023 05:25:33 PM


Shabbat Shalom. This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Shelach, in which Moses sends 12 spies into the Holy Land to scope out its conquerability. All but two of them come back shaking in their boots, convinced that the giants that inhabit the land will fight back too fearsomely and the Israelites...Read more...

Samson, Strength, and Solemn Vows

06/02/2023 05:26:30 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Nasso. In the Reform tradition in particular, we are reading the second half of Nasso, in which we read about the rules for the Nazirite, one who takes an oath to separate themselves from worldly experiences for a time, focusing on spiritual experiences...Read more...

Mammals, Moms, and More

05/07/2023 02:31:12 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Emor, in which we receive some more laws relating to the priests’ duties and how they are to conduct themselves throughout their lives. We also receive rules about the holy days - more about how to observe Shabbat, as well as the expectations of the...Read more...

Teal Shabbat

04/28/2023 11:14:07 AM


Shabbat Shalom. Today is the 23rd day of the Omer. We are almost exactly halfway through this period from Pesach to Shavuot, from liberation to revelation. This time of year, every year, Jews around the world gather and recount the Exodus from Egypt, freedom from slavery, and survival as a...Read more...

Who by Fire

04/14/2023 06:51:49 PM


     Shabbat Shalom. This week’s Torah portion is a grotesquely fitting story for our Yom HaShoa theme. While the first chapter of Parashat Shemini (Leviticus 9) tells of a series of successful sacrifices, the second (Levitucus 10) tells of another sacrifice gone horribly wrong. After Moses, Aaron, and Aaron’s sons are given the instructions for proper sacrifice, they perform each of the required sacrifices...Read more...

Fri, March 1 2024 21 Adar I 5784