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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.

Leadership, Legacies, and Lifelong Learning

09/10/2021 10:47:22 AM


          Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Vayeilech, or Deuteronomy chapter 31. Jews all over the world will read this segment of our holy scripture this Shabbat: some out of the sacred scroll, some from books, and some may not literally read it in its totality but learn about it in Torah studies and sermons. We welcome our distinguished guests to...Read more...

Hurts and Hindrances

09/07/2021 07:19:52 AM


Boker Tov and Shana Tova. Today is the birth day of the world! A day of celebration and sweetness. And a day of solemnity and repentance. A day of holding multiple truths.

          So, you all probably know by now I listen to too many podcasts. With my queue constantly 300 episodes deep, I rarely re-listen to episodes that will...Read more...

Returning, Renewing, and Repenting

09/06/2021 10:14:13 AM


Good evening and gut yontif. We have been vaguely in the season of Teshuvah for a month now, and the High Holy Days are here. Are you prepared to Return, Renew, and Repent? I find I am not sure that I am this year. Even as I am happy to welcome so many of you back into our beautiful sanctuary, I cannot stave off the fear that this is also still unsafe. I cannot stave off the sadness that there are...Read more...

Covenants, Community, and Coequality

09/05/2021 10:21:16 AM


          This weekend, I was blessed to officiate over a Baby Naming. Like many Reform baby namings, it happened a bit later than the 8th day. This year especially, with every gather so uncertain and anything that requires planning feeling so daunting, it has not been uncommon to wait several months to host such a ceremony. And so, it was with so much joy and relief that...Read more...

Bikkurim, Best Efforts, and Bringing Back Shemita

08/27/2021 03:25:28 PM


          Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Ki Tavo, in which rules regarding the sacrifice of the first fruits are given, along with rules regarding tithes and Moses’s theatrical blessings and curses on Mount G’rizim and Mount Eival. Of the first fruits offerings, Rashi states: “Not all fruits are subject to the mitzvah of bikkurim (first...Read more...

Freedom, Fairness, and Fellowship

08/20/2021 02:08:52 PM


    Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Ki Teitzei, which contains many reiterations of Levitical laws regarding sexual purity and marriage, familial obligations outside of the bedroom, commandments regarding the treatment of animals and slaves, and some laws regarding proper business practices. 

    Of the latter, I have previously considered the verses, “You shall not abuse a...Read more...

Nibbles, Noshes, and Nachas

08/17/2021 02:52:38 PM


Latkes and Lights

Countries, Cruises, and Coasts

07/14/2021 09:40:28 PM


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



Nibbles, Noshes & Nachas

06/23/2021 07:56:39 PM


Latkes and Lights

Nibbles, Noshes, & Nachas

06/14/2021 01:36:40 PM


Latkes and Lights

Korach, Kerach, and Caring

06/11/2021 11:26:08 AM


          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


          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


Latkes and Lights

Ritual, Repression, and Reproductive Justice

05/21/2021 03:32:12 PM


          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


         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


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


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:


Violence, Vengeance, and Vindication

04/30/2021 01:38:43 PM


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


  Latkes and Lights

Holiness, Wholeness, and a Healthy Earth

04/23/2021 02:09:39 PM


          “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


  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


Latkes and Lights

Songs of Love and Freedom

04/02/2021 04:05:22 PM


            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


          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


Latkes and Lights

Sacrifices, Disappointment, and Hope

03/19/2021 12:19:02 PM


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


      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


          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


                       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...

Sat, May 28 2022 27 Iyyar 5782