Help Wanted

Help Wanted

May 28, 2021 By Shira D. Epstein | Commentary | Beha'alotekha

In recent years, Jewish institutions have joined efforts to address issues of equity in the workforce, encouraging transparency in publicized pay scales, promotion criteria, and job requirements. This endeavor has been facilitated by pioneering organizations such as the Gender Equity in Hiring Project that did not exist when I negotiated salary for my first classroom teaching position. I reflect back on the hiring process, which felt at the time like a puzzle for which I was meant to know the solution but could not access; I now understand that these feelings of isolation were common, particularly when no formal pay scale existed. Today as an activist for workplace equity, I benefit from the wisdom of current advocacy; at the urging of some of our alumni, The William Davidson School weekly newsletters have recently begun to only post descriptions that include salary ranges. This seemingly small change enables a level playing field, putting employers and job candidates on more equitable negotiating grounds.  

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The Journey

The Journey

Jun 12, 2020 By Jan Uhrbach | Commentary | Beha'alotekha

How do we progress toward our goals? Individually and societally, how do we know when to move forward, and which direction to go?

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Modeling Behavior for the Sake of Humankind

Modeling Behavior for the Sake of Humankind

Jun 21, 2019 By Walter Herzberg | Commentary | Text Study | Beha'alotekha

In the last narrative in Parashat Beha’alotehkha, it seems that Miriam and Aaron are speaking against their brother Moses—though the nature of the complaint is far from clear. Whatever the complaint may be, God summons Miriam and Aaron and takes them to task for not being “afraid to speak against My servant Moses.”

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Body Language

Body Language

Jun 1, 2018 By Amy Kalmanofsky | Commentary | Beha'alotekha

Jews love words. We love to talk and we love to read. It is telling that we celebrate our holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur, by gathering and reading aloud a 250-page book.

Parashat Beha’alotekha reminds us there is more to religious observance than words. There is profound power in body language—in nonverbal rituals that involve, even mark, the body.

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Let’s Talk about Sex

Let’s Talk about Sex

Jun 9, 2017 By Michal Raucher | Commentary | Beha'alotekha

There are many unanswered questions about the now-infamous incident of God chastising Aaron and Miriam and then inflicting Miriam with tzara’at, or leprosy, at the conclusion of Parashat Beha’alotekha. Primarily, there are questions about what exactly Miriam and Aaron did to receive God’s rebuke, and why Miriam is the only one punished. Many interpreters have considered Miriam’s wrongdoing in two ways: either she is guilty of racism towards Tziporah, or God scolds her for the presumption that she and Aaron are prophets just as important as Moses.

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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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Notifications Now and Then

Notifications Now and Then

Jun 24, 2016 By Tim Daniel Bernard | Commentary | Beha'alotekha

How often do we hear this sound, or feel the vibrations of a mobile device demanding our attention? Breaking news, emails, traffic, and game updates—alerts both trivial and critical are brought to us by beeps, bars of music, and buzzes.

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An All-Too-Easy Transgression

An All-Too-Easy Transgression

Jun 24, 2016 By Leonard A. Sharzer | Commentary | Beha'alotekha

The concluding episode of this week’s parashah is one of the most well-known and intriguing stories in the Torah, that of Miriam and Aaron publicly maligning Moses and the consequences thereof. The basic elements of the narrative (Num. 12:1–16) are these: Miriam and Aaron speak out against Moses regarding the Cushite woman he has married, and complain that he is not the only prophet in the family. God has spoken through the two of them, as well. God hears all of this. 

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The Idolatry of Stasis

The Idolatry of Stasis

Jun 11, 2011 By Andrew Shugerman | Commentary | Text Study | Beha'alotekha

Only in Hebrew leap years does Shavu’ot coincide with Parashat Beha’alotekha, but every day we are faced with the challenges that this midrash addresses.

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There Are No Shortcuts

There Are No Shortcuts

Jun 8, 1996 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Beha'alotekha

The nation Moses brought out of Egypt shared neither his vision nor faith.

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