From Podcast to Parashah

From Podcast to Parashah

Nov 26, 2021 By Shuly Rubin Schwartz | Commentary | Vayeshev

Many of us have become podcast connoisseurs during the pandemic. For me, the interview format has proven most appealing, and within that genre, The Axe Files stands out. Why? Like many interviewers, David Axelrod speaks to authors, politicians, thought leaders, and public figures. What sets his questioning apart is his ability to elicit the background story of his guests: Where were their grandparents from? Where did they grow up? What was their family life like? What challenges did they face in their early lives? And how did this impact the people they have become?

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How to Make Work Meaningful for Us: Exploring the Value of Work in Biblical and Rabbinic Sources

How to Make Work Meaningful for Us: Exploring the Value of Work in Biblical and Rabbinic Sources

Nov 22, 2021 By Eliezer B. Diamond | Public Event video

Work can be uplifting; it can also be draining and demoralizing. This depends not only on what we do but on how we do it. We’ll look at Jewish sources that offer us different ways of thinking about work and some wisdom about how to make the work we do work for us.

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Facing Our Fears

Facing Our Fears

Nov 19, 2021 By Walter Herzberg | Commentary | Vayishlah

Soon after leaving Aram, the home of Laban his father-in-law, along with his wives, children, and possessions, Jacob instructed messengers to go to his brother Esau in Edom and say: “Thus says your servant Jacob: With Laban I have sojourned and I tarried till now. And I have gotten oxen and donkeys and sheep and male and female slaves, and I send ahead to tell my lord, to find favor in your eyes” (Gen. 32:5–6). Upon returning, the messengers relate that Esau himself is coming to meet Jacob and bringing four hundred men! 

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If There Is No Bread, There Is No Torah: The Other Careers of the Talmudic Rabbis

If There Is No Bread, There Is No Torah: The Other Careers of the Talmudic Rabbis

Nov 15, 2021 By Rachel Rosenthal | Public Event video

We often think of the rabbis in the Talmud as having careers as full-time rabbis. However, numerous narrative traditions tell us about their other jobs and their financial struggles. If one cannot make a living learning Torah, how should we balance Torah with more mundane concerns? We’ll study some of these stories together and look at some models for lives that are enriched both by Torah and by work.

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The Give and Take of Biblical Vows

The Give and Take of Biblical Vows

Nov 12, 2021 By Eliezer B. Diamond | Commentary | Vayetzei

We live in a world of give and take. Transactions involving the exchange of money for goods and services, which the rabbis explicitly call משא ומתן, “taking and giving,” are central to economic life. Successful relationships, whether professional or personal, are the result of effectively balancing the pursuit of one’s own wants and needs with acknowledging and accommodating the needs and desires of others.

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Abraham Joshua Heschel: A Life of Radical Amazement

Abraham Joshua Heschel: A Life of Radical Amazement

Nov 10, 2021 By The Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary | Public Event video

Author and historian Julian E. Zelizer when he talks about his book, Abraham Joshua Heschel: A Life of Radical Amazement, which chronicles the life of Heschel as a symbol of the fight to make progressive Jewish values relevant in the secular world.

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May We Be Known by the Work of Our Hands

May We Be Known by the Work of Our Hands

Nov 5, 2021 By Ariella Rosen | Commentary | Toledot

How does deception begin? In the telling of Jacob’s acquisition of nearly all of the first-born advantages granted his brother Esau, the moment is perhaps not what it seems.

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Kollot Rabbinic Literature, 2021-22

Kollot Rabbinic Literature, 2021-22

Nov 4, 2021 By Jan Uhrbach

November 4, 2021 December 2, 2021 January 13, 2022Download Sources February 3, 2022Download Sources (Page 3) March 24, 2022Download Sources April 28, 2022Download Sources May 12, 2022Download Sources

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A Nice, Jewish Teacher: How American Elementary Education Became “Women’s Work”

A Nice, Jewish Teacher: How American Elementary Education Became “Women’s Work”

Nov 1, 2021 By Shira D. Epstein

Early 20th century elementary school teaching became synonymous with being female, and particularly in NYC, with being the right kind of Jewish young woman.

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What Was Isaac Doing in the Field?

What Was Isaac Doing in the Field?

Oct 29, 2021 By Jason Rogoff | Commentary | Hayyei Sarah

The patriarch Isaac is one of the most passive biblical characters. He speaks infrequently and seems to stand still while other people feverishly act around him. His presence in Parashat Hayyei Sarah is no exception. After surviving the ordeal of the Akedah, and experiencing the death of his mother, Isaac is nowhere to be found. Abraham buys the burial plot and only Abraham is mentioned as present at Sarah’s burial. Abraham then sends his servant Eliezer to find a wife for Isaac, but again we lack any information as to what Isaac is doing or how he is feeling after successive traumatic life events. Isaac only returns to the story when Eliezer returns with Rebekah and she first sees Isaac.

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We Refuse to Be Enemies

We Refuse to Be Enemies

Oct 26, 2021 By The Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary | Public Event video

Authors Sabeeha Rehman and Walter Ruby talk about their book, We Refuse to Be Enemies, a manifesto that offers experience and guidance on the rise of intolerance, bigotry, and white nationalism in the United States.

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The Jewish Middle Class in an Age of Social Justice

The Jewish Middle Class in an Age of Social Justice

Oct 25, 2021 By Nancy Sinkoff | Public Event video

his session will explore the historian Lucy S. Dawidowicz’s challenging essay, “The Business of American Jews: Notes on a Work in Progress” (1992), which called for a reassessment of Jewish economic social mobility as a positive value in Jewish life.

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Lessons from Lot’s Daughters

Lessons from Lot’s Daughters

Oct 22, 2021 By Abby Eisenberg | Commentary | Vayera

Parashat Vayera is the fourth Torah portion after Simhat Torah, the celebration of our annual Torah reading cycle and the culmination of the fall holidays. As we begin the new year, we also begin anew our exploration of ancestral family dynamics. Arguably one of the most famous parent-child scenes in all of literature can be found in Vayera: that of Abraham bringing Isaac to offer him as sacrifice. The parashah also contains another version of child sacrifice when Lot, Abraham’s nephew, subjects his unnamed daughters to assault and danger. From the tragedy of Jephthah’s daughter to the boldness of the daughters of Zelofehad, relationships between fathers and daughters in Tanakh are both deeply troubling and inspiring. The story of Lot and his daughters is certainly the former, and, perhaps surprisingly, potentially the latter.

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Protected: Kollot Parashat Hashavua, 2021-2022

Protected: Kollot Parashat Hashavua, 2021-2022

Oct 21, 2021 By Matthew Berkowitz

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

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Was Avram a Second Language Learner?

Was Avram a Second Language Learner?

Oct 15, 2021 By Avi Garelick | Commentary | Lekh Lekha

At the conclusion of Chapter 11 of Sefer Bereishit, the peoples of the world are divided by Divine command into distinct groups with mutually incomprehensible languages. This tale of the Tower of Babel accounts for the fundamental question of why human beings can be so different from each other while coming from the same source. It also sets the stage for what follows: a freshly divided world, with the inability to communicate as a driving force of division.

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Senior Sermons: Class of 2022

Senior Sermons: Class of 2022

Oct 13, 2021

Presentations by senior Rabbinical School students in 5782 Gabe Cohen – Noah Alisa Zilbershtein – Lekh Lekha Maor Greene – Vayera Katja Vehlow – Hayyei Sarah Naomi Zaslow – Toledot David Chapman – Vayishlah Jessica Dell’Era – Vayeshev Jesse Nagelberg – Miketz Dave Yedid – Vayiggash Samuel Gelman – Mishpatim Elizabeth Breit – Terumah Deborah […]

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Even God Makes Time for Leisure: Rabbinic Narratives About God’s Work, Play, and Rest Schedule

Even God Makes Time for Leisure: Rabbinic Narratives About God’s Work, Play, and Rest Schedule

Oct 11, 2021 By Sarit Kattan Gribetz | Public Event video

Genesis 2:2-3 announces that, after working hard to create the world and humanity over the course of six days, God took a day off to celebrate the Sabbath. Other passages in the Bible build upon God’s day of rest to mandate that all created beings rest, and that heads of households ensure that everyone under their control be allowed to rest on the seventh day. Divine time, we learn, alternates between periods of creative work and deliberate rest.  But what does God’s work entail, how does God manage divine time, does God make time for leisure, and does God have a schedule?

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Who Do You Think You Are?

Who Do You Think You Are?

Oct 8, 2021 By Kendell Pinkney | Commentary | Noah

When I received the results, I can’t say I was all that surprised:

67% Sub-Saharan African, 30% Northwest European, 2% Indigenous American, 1% unaccounted for.

I already knew that my ethnic heritage was decently mixed up. I had spent enough years peppering my grandmothers with the kinds of questions only a child feels comfortable pursuing: “Where was your mother from? Where was your father from? Belize?! Which city? Dangriga? Sounds weird. Never heard of it. Wait, grandma, your grandmother was a white woman from Louisiana?!”

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“Six Days Shall You Labor:” Perspectives on Work in Jewish Text and Tradition

“Six Days Shall You Labor:” Perspectives on Work in Jewish Text and Tradition

Oct 4, 2021 By The Jewish Theological Seminary | Video Lecture

Many of us spend more time at work than anywhere else over the course of our lives—but are we defined by what we do? In this text-based series, JTS scholars will explore ideas about the meaning of work and rest in Jewish tradition, Jewish social movements around work, as well as the roles that gender, geography, and shifting economic and social circumstances have played in Jews’ professional paths and our understandings of the meaning and value of work.

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Six Days Shall You Labor: Shabbat and the Meaning of Work

Six Days Shall You Labor: Shabbat and the Meaning of Work

Oct 4, 2021 By David C. Kraemer | Public Event video

Shabbat, a day on which “work” is forbidden, also offers a commentary on work—on its place in our lives, its importance, and its limitations. Notably, the rabbinic Sabbath—that is, the “traditional” Sabbath—offers a perspective that differs from that of the Torah, both original and unique. Join Dr. David Kraemer to explore biblical and rabbinic views of the Sabbath as commentaries on the significance of work.

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