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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.

Countries, Cruises, and Coasts

07/14/2021 09:40:28 PM

Jul14

Over the past few years tour companies and cruise lines have begun offering Jewish Heritage themed and highlighted tours that lead us to Discover the Diaspora. It is encouraging that we are recognized and valued as travelers. 
If there is a destination near or far that calls to you, please let me know and I will work to create that perfect journey for you, your   family, even your organization. Jewish themes are a focus, but I...Read more...

Nibbles, Noshes, and Nachas

07/11/2021 02:17:01 PM

Jul11

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Nibbles, Noshes & Nachas

06/23/2021 07:56:39 PM

Jun23

Latkes and LightsRead more...

Nibbles, Noshes, & Nachas

06/14/2021 01:36:40 PM

Jun14

Latkes and LightsRead more...

Korach, Kerach, and Caring

06/11/2021 11:26:08 AM

Jun11

          Shabbat Shalom! In this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Korach, we read about a man who is dissatisfied with what he sees around him and dares to dream up a world in which he is recognized for his own importance and that all people are allowed to share in holiness and leadership.  Depending on your position, you might see Korach as a democratizer unfairly...Read more...

Faith, Fighting, and Fervor

06/04/2021 12:09:00 PM

Jun4

          Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Shalach, in which Moses sends 12 scouts, one from each tribe, to scope out the inhabitants of the Holy Land and determine how they will go about conquering the land. All but two return certain of the undefeatable strength of those they wish to dispossess and only Caleb and Joshua assure Moses that the land is good and God is on their...Read more...

Nibbles, Noshes, & Nachas

05/26/2021 07:27:51 PM

May26

Latkes and LightsRead more...

Ritual, Repression, and Reproductive Justice

05/21/2021 03:32:12 PM

May21

          Shabbat Shalom! In this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Nasso, we read about the ordeal of the Sota, the suspected adulteress. If a man becomes suspicious of his wife, regardless of any evidence to support his jealousy, he may bring her before the priest in the Tabernacle and they will perform a ritual together to determine her innocence. The central act of...Read more...

Parashat Bemidbar: Taking Our Places

05/14/2021 12:12:14 PM

May14

         The summer is nearly here, more and more adults are vaccinated, and it seems new opportunities for gathering will become available. And yet, the language of “reopening” or “returning to normal” feels complicated for me. Setting aside for the moment all the issues that already existed in the old normal which were exacerbated and highlighted during the pandemic...Read more...

Nibbles, Noshes, & Nachas

05/12/2021 08:30:29 PM

May12

Nibbles, Noshes & Nachas

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

Women's Worthiness

05/07/2021 08:39:03 PM

May7

Shabbat Shalom! Happy almost-Mother’s Day, and shout out to our Sisterhood for such a beautiful Friday night service. This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Behar-Behukotai, in which we read about the last of the priestly laws and close the Book of Leviticus. Toward the end of the parasha, we read the verses:

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Violence, Vengeance, and Vindication

04/30/2021 01:38:43 PM

Apr30

Shabbat Shalom! Tonight, we count day thirty-four of the omer, and honor a foundation of glory, Yesod she’beHod. Rabbi Jill Hammer’s Omer Calendar of Biblical women attributes this day and this point of the kabbalistic spiral of these days to Avigayil, one of David’s wives. In the book of Samuel, David is on the run from King Saul and encounters some difficulties with a landowner on whose land he is squatting....Read more...

Nibbles, Noshes, & Nachas

04/29/2021 01:36:38 PM

Apr29

  Latkes and LightsRead more...

Holiness, Wholeness, and a Healthy Earth

04/23/2021 02:09:39 PM

Apr23

          “You shall be holy, for I – the Lord Your God – am holy.” Three times this phrase is repeated in the second part of this week’s double Torah portion, Parashat Kedoshim. What does it mean to be holy because or in the way that God is holy? This Shabbat, immediately following Earth day, we find ourselves in the kabbalistic time of Splendor within...Read more...

Taste of Torah

04/09/2021 01:13:40 PM

Apr9

  A D'var Torah from the Institute of Southern Jewish Life  

The alarm starts blaring at 7:00 am. You blindly flail your arm in the general direction of the alarm until you hit a button that makes the noise stop. You get out of bed and take a shower, choosing a bottle of shampoo off of a shelf with several half-empty bottles. After drying off, you go to your closet, pushing aside ill-fitting clothes to find that one...Read more...

Nibbles, Noshes, & Nachas

04/05/2021 04:02:26 PM

Apr5

Latkes and LightsRead more...

Songs of Love and Freedom

04/02/2021 04:05:22 PM

Apr2

            Shabbat Shalom. The Torah portion for this week is a reprise of Parashat Beshallach, which we read in our regular calendar readings just about two months ago, tells the story of the parting of the Sea of Reads, the Song of the Sea, and the final moments of redemption of the Israelites from Egypt. This holiday, we also read another sort of song - the Song of Songs. Every Jewish...Read more...

Urgency, Sustainability, and Constancy

03/26/2021 12:18:00 PM

Mar26

          Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Tzav, in which more details of the various sacrifices introduced last week are described. There are a few choice lines and possible interpretations of this parasha, but this week the word “tzav” itself is really catching me. It is the same root as the word mitzvah, but in the imperative. There is...Read more...

Nibbles, Noshes, & Nachas

03/21/2021 04:17:55 PM

Mar21

Latkes and LightsRead more...

Sacrifices, Disappointment, and Hope

03/19/2021 12:19:02 PM

Mar19

Good news: I have been vaccinated! Perhaps I should make an offering to God in gratitude. What might that look like?    This week’s Torah portion, Parashat Vayikra, details several types of sacrifices that will be brought into the freshly-built Mishkan: the olah, or burnt offering; the shelamim, or peace/wholeness offering; five variations of minha offerings, ways to give meal for those who cannot afford the animals of the other...Read more...

Names and Nameless

02/26/2021 12:57:25 PM

Feb26

      Shabbat Shalom and Chag Purim Sameach! This week’s Torah portion, Parashat Tetzaveh is the only parasha from Moses’s birth to his final addresses in Deuteronomy in which his name is not mentioned. The parasha is still about him, of course, the entirety spoken by God to Moses with lots of second person pronouns used to refer to him. But chazal didn’t feel we needed reminders of who the “you” is...Read more...

Semantics and Sanctuaries

02/19/2021 02:10:54 PM

Feb19

          Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion, Parashat Terumah, consists of God describing to Moses how the Tabernacle, the moveable Sanctuary for the Israelites to commune with God while wandering in the desert, ought to be built. It also opens us up to one of my favorite eternal questions of scripture: WHAT THE HECK IS A TACHASH?! Several times throughout the Torah...Read more...

Choice, Freedom, and Justice

02/05/2021 11:18:08 AM

Feb5

                       Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Yitro, which contains the Ten Commandments. The National Council of Jewish Women dubbed next week ReproShabbat, a time to for Jewish educators and clergy to speak out about reproductive justice, a serious issue currently under...Read more...

Nibbles, Noshes & Nachas

02/03/2021 10:27:26 AM

Feb3

Latkes and LightsRead more...

Grieving, Growing, and Gaining Momentum

01/29/2021 01:15:49 PM

Jan29

          Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Beshallach, in which the Israelites go forth from Egypt, from Mitzrayim, the narrow place, into freedom, into the great expanse of the wilderness. Just before Moses uses his miracle staff to part the Sea of Reeds, the Israelites angst over the encroaching Egyptian army and the barrier of the water ahead,...Read more...

Tableau of Haste   

01/22/2021 11:00:50 AM

Jan22

          This year I have been randomly assigned a collection of parshiyot to write divrei Torah for my rabbinical school’s listserve. On the weeks that they are to be published, the first draft is due on Monday so that there is time for edits, and the final draft is due on Wednesday.

          This week in particular it felt near impossible to try to plan ahead remarks for Shabbat, when our country and democratic institutions seemed to be on unstable ground. Thankfully, Wednesday came and went with a relatively normal inauguration and the most social media worthy thing to come out of it seems to be the image of Bernie Sanders looking cold and disgruntled. But throughout the last two weeks, as the National Guard gathered in abundance just a few miles away from us, there truly was still a distinct possibility for further violence and attempts to overthrow democracy, a reprise of the events of January 6th. Of course, it was precisely because of the National Guard and our readiness for the worst that likely deterred any further action from extremists, so I implore you not to write off the concerns as hyperbolic or hysterical just because they did not come to pass. That sort of dismissal has allowed for escalating violence throughout history, and we must be open to learning from recent events. Read more...

Believe People When They Tell You Who They Are

01/08/2021 04:30:59 PM

Jan8

          Shabbat Shalom. This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Shemot, in which a new king arises over Egypt, “who knew not Joseph” and immediately made very clear his feelings and intentions toward the descendants of Joseph and his brothers. There appears to be no pushback when the king enslaves the Israelites for being too threatening in their very existence. The...Read more...

Nibbles, Noshes, and Nachas

01/04/2021 11:21:13 AM

Jan4

Latkes and LightsRead more...

New Year, New Blessings, New Beginnings

01/01/2021 03:19:54 PM

Jan1

          Shabbat Shalom! This week, we finish the book of Genesis, and we have closed out a calendar year. Our Torah portion, Parashat Vayechi tells of the deaths of Jacob and Joseph, as well as Jacob’s final death bed blessings for his children and his favorite grandchildren. Throughout the last few parshiyot, we’ve seen Joseph and his brothers grow up a lot, but in...Read more...

Reuniting, and Not

12/18/2020 02:06:17 PM

Dec18

          Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Miketz, telling the story of the initial reunion between Joseph and his brothers, though the brothers do not recognize Joseph. We discussed during Torah study yesterday how Joseph tests his brothers, to see how they’ve changed and to decide whether to reveal himself to them. There seems to be some element...Read more...

Fri, July 30 2021 21 Av 5781