Those Whose Hearts Lift Them

Those Whose Hearts Lift Them

Mar 18, 2020 By Nicole Wilson-Spiro | Commentary | Pekudei | Vayak-hel

When I lived in South Philly, I fell in love with the Mummers, an annual parade and show on New Year’s Day and part of the fabric of the neighborhood throughout the year. Mummers dress in elaborate costumes and “strut” down Broad Street, while playing music and handing out beaded necklaces and New Year’s greetings to enthusiastic crowds. While some Mummers merely enjoy the opportunity to cavort in silly costumes in various stages of drunkenness, other Mummers clubs are intensely competitive, guarding the secret of their yearly themes with a vengeance and working throughout the year to prepare a spectacle.

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A Land That’s Too Good?

A Land That’s Too Good?

Aug 23, 2019 By Nicole Wilson-Spiro | Commentary | Eikev

I received a call one evening this summer from the doctor at Ramah Palmer. My son had tripped, and she wanted permission to bring him off camp the next day to have his swollen wrist x-rayed. Of course! But by the next morning I had convinced myself that I should pick him up from camp and bring him to our local orthopedist. I even convinced my husband that this would be best for insurance, since our orthopedist is in our insurance network. Unfortunately for me, the camp’s local hospital also turned out to be in our network. Truthfully, I wanted him to come home because I wanted to see him with my own eyes to make sure he was OK. My son is eleven, and he was hurt badly enough that he needed x-rays.

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A Strong Sign

A Strong Sign

Jun 9, 2017 By Nicole Wilson-Spiro | Commentary | Beha'alotekha

I offered my very first devar Torah on this portion as I became a bat mitzvah 25 years ago. My memory of my early thoughts on this portion is admittedly hazy, but I am quite sure I did not pick up on the age requirements given in the portion for serving as a Levite. According to Numbers 8:24–25, a Levite man was required to be between 25 and 50 years old to perform the duties associated with the Tabernacle. Rashi notes that Numbers 4:3 states that the minimum age for service is 30 years, and not 25, as in our portion. He suggests that at 25 a Levite man began to study the laws of sacrifice, and after five years of study, at the age of 30, he was prepared to take on his Levitical duties.

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Experiencing the Light of Torah

Experiencing the Light of Torah

Aug 19, 2016 By Nicole Wilson-Spiro | Commentary | Va'et-hannan

This summer I returned to Jewish overnight camp after a 15-year hiatus. After all this time, s’mores, a love of cheering in unison (has the cheering gotten louder or am I older?), and earnest, hard-working counselors (I was one, once) are still to be found at camp. I am happy to report that the food is now much, much better than I remembered, and the supervision and attention to camper care have improved vastly, as well.

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