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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.

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...

Friends Don't Let Friends Have Seders Without Jews

04/08/2023 09:35:07 AM


Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach! This Shabbat’s Torah portion breaks from the chronological parashat hashavua to revisit a section of Exodus where Moses and God have a pretty intimate one-on-one about the leadership of this newly freed nation of slaves. Moses asks God to continue to lead the people in a very visible way, not just through himself, so that the whole world may know that the Israelites shall be distinguished from the...Read more...

Flame, Flamers, and Forever

03/31/2023 11:14:53 AM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Tzav, the second parasha in Leviticus, and it continues the detailing of the sorts of sacrifices that will be made in the Mishkan and eventually in Temple service. It also continues several reiterations of the commandment that the fire on the...Read more...

Bread and Roses

03/24/2023 01:41:22 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Vayikra, the first parasha of the Book of Leviticus. This parasha and most of Leviticus discusses the rituals around sacrifices: the when, what, why, how, and by whom the sacrifices are offered at the Mishkan. 


Éirinn go Brách

03/17/2023 04:13:22 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Vayekhel-Pekudei, a double portion about - what else - the building of the Mishkan. And of course today is also St. Patrick’s Day, which is obviously not a Jewish holiday, but is it really a Catholic holiday as indicated by the word...Read more...

Sex Work is Work, Trafficking is Slavery

03/05/2023 12:42:04 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Tetzaveh, which mostly focuses on the garments and accroutrements of the Priests serving in the Mishkan. This is also Shabbat Zachor, the Shabbat immediately preceding Purim, which includes a special extra Torah reading from...Read more...

Octavia's Terumah

02/27/2023 02:52:33 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Terumah, in which God starts to give out the instructions on the building of the Mishkan, the holy Tabernacle that will wander the desert with the Israelites and give an earthly home to the Shekhina, the Divine presence, so...Read more...

Thou Shalt Not "Single White Female" Your Neighbors

02/10/2023 11:13:41 AM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Yitro, in which we find the 10 Commandments and Moses learning from his father-in-law how to be a stronger leader through delegating tasks to other potential leaders in the nation. In discussing the parasha with Philip, we got into a bit of a disagreement about the final of the Big Ten. I don’t disagree with him,...Read more...

Trees, Seas, and Oases

02/06/2023 12:59:09 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Beshalach, in which we find the song of the sea and the final push of the Israelites’ escape from slavery into freedom. As you know, the holiday of Tu BiShevat is also this weekend. Although trees look dead in North America...Read more...

Books, Empowerment, and Dolly Parton

01/20/2023 01:58:04 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat VaEra, which includes a reiteration of God’s call to Moses, some feeble explanation of the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, Moses and Aaron’s family trees, and the first seven of the Ten Plagues. At various points in this...Read more...

A Rabbi, a Minister, and an Imam walk into a local diner...

01/20/2023 01:56:17 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Vayechi, in which Jacob gives his final blessings to his children. He also declares that Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Menashe will be inheritors of Israel as equal as any of Joseph’s own brothers. Jacob prophesies that Ephraim, the younger,...Read more...

Chanukah Shabbat

01/20/2023 01:55:09 PM


Shabbat Shalom and Chag Urim Sameach. This week's Torah portion is Parashat Miketz, in which we hear about Pharaoh's dreams that Joseph correctly interprets as portending 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine. Both Pharaoh and Joseph jump into action...Read more...

Shabbat, Gratitude, and Dinosaurs

11/18/2022 01:59:42 PM


Shabbat Shalom! As you know, this is our first Family Shabbat of the school year, and since many of our religious school families were not sure they could attend, I wanted to collect some thoughts from our students and their parents to still imbue this service with their presence. This Shabbat is also the reading of Parashat Chayei Sarah, and unknowingly our students and their parents reflected...Read more...

Put an End to Child Sacrifice

11/11/2022 01:33:07 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Vayera and contains the story of the Akeidah which we read on Rosh HaShana. In accordance with my message on Rosh HaShana, Rabbis Against Gun Violence led by Rabbi Menachem Creditor has issued a call to...Read more...

Abraham's Animals

11/04/2022 02:41:30 PM


Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Lech Lecha, in which God calls out to our ancestors Avram and Sarai and tells them to leave the land they have known and travel a great distance to the Promised Land. They bring with them some family and all their wealth,...Read more...

In the Beginning....

10/21/2022 02:39:34 PM


    In the beginning… So begins our Torah anew, or at least according to most English translations. I assumed everyone present knows at least the basics of our Creation story. There was a primordial void, and God spoke the Universe into being. God made people and set them over the Earth to be...Read more...

Water is Life

10/14/2022 02:46:16 PM


Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach! Sukkot is a time for gratitude and joy, focusing on two particular blessings for which we must be grateful and express our joy over. These are the blessings of housing, which I spoke about to some degree on Rosh HaShana, and the blessings of the...Read more...

Singing, Simcha, and Songs of Praise

10/07/2022 07:15:15 PM


    Shabbat Shalom! This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Ha’azinu, Moses’s final address to the Israelites recounted in the form of a song. The Haftarah this week comes from II Samuel, chapter 22, and is also a song - the song David sings after David has defeated both Saul and the Philistines,...Read more...

Choose Hope

10/04/2022 02:53:58 PM


Tzaharayim Tov! We arc toward the final hours of our holy day and our season of Teshuva, and we remind ourselves once more to choose hope, and as the Torah tells us, to choose life. This afternoon’s Torah portion comes from Parashat Kedoshim, known as the Holiness Code, which details many of...Read more...

Housing: Lo BaShamayim Hee

10/04/2022 02:47:44 PM


    Boker Tov, and Tzom Kal. I hope you are having a soul-refreshing morning and a meaningful fast. This morning, as we engage in our personal and communal teshuvah, our Torah portion comes from parts of chapters 29 and 30 from Deuteronomy, reminding us of the essential equalizer that is the Torah. I...Read more...

Self-Care and Self-Affliction

10/04/2022 02:32:26 PM


Erev Tov. I hope your fasts are starting off easily and meaningfully, and that you are taking good care of your body these next 24 hours. I say that every year, because the emphasis on fasting during Yom Kippur can be dangerous or alienating to some people and I always worry about people who...Read more...

Tue, July 23 2024 17 Tammuz 5784