The Values of a Jewish Home

The Values of a Jewish Home

Apr 16, 2021 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Metzora | Tazria | Yom Hazikaron-Yom Ha'atzma'ut

In the precious days “Before the Coronavirus Era” (B.C.E.), the parshiyot of Tazria-Metzora seemed wholly disconnected from our lives, presenting the perennial challenge of relevance (or irrelevance) to even the most talented darshan (sermonizer). How are we to connect leprous plagues attacking both body and abode to our daily lives? And to what extent does the experience of quarantine resonate with our modern reality? These are only two of the many questions that we would have posed in a pre-Covid world.

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First Fruits, New Thoughts: A Pilgrim Reflects on the First Fruits Ritual

First Fruits, New Thoughts: A Pilgrim Reflects on the First Fruits Ritual

Aug 31, 2018 By Eliezer B. Diamond | Commentary | Ki Tavo

Peace be with you, friend! My name is Micah; I hail from Anav. And you? Shemaryahu, from Jericho, you say; a Benjaminite, then. Well, if you don’t mind sharing the road with a Judahite let’s walk together.

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Ethics of Solidarity and Civil Equality: From the Parashah to the Knesset

Ethics of Solidarity and Civil Equality: From the Parashah to the Knesset

Aug 24, 2018 By Hillel Ben Sasson | Commentary | Ki Tetzei

From the narrative of Adam and Eve to the very last verses of Chronicles, the Hebrew Bible and specifically the Torah may be read as a process by which individuals and collectives are selected or separated. The Christian New Testament sends its redeeming message universally, to all human beings: “There is neither Greek nor Jew, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female. For ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Exceptions notwithstanding (Isa. 2:1-2, for example), our Tanakh is far more particularistic. 

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Behold: A Blessing and a Curse

Behold: A Blessing and a Curse

Aug 10, 2018 By Yitzhak Lewis | Commentary | Re'eh

Earlier this year, we paid our final respects to Haim Gouri (1923–2018), one of Hebrew poetry’s most prominent and persistent voices for the past seven decades. One of the central questions preoccupying Gouri’s work is the cycle whereby chosenness is transformed into the mundane, or a blessing into a curse, only to reemerge as the impossible synthesis of the two. 

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Charismatic Saint or Reckless Vigilante? Pinehas and the Covenant of Peace

Charismatic Saint or Reckless Vigilante? Pinehas and the Covenant of Peace

Jul 6, 2018 By Hillel Ben Sasson | Commentary | Pinehas

Along with Simeon and Levi, who raged against Shekhem and his people in response to defilement of their sister Dina’s dignity, the figure of Pinehas has become synonymous with decisive and unforgiving zealotry. In the face of growing sexual promiscuity within the Israelite desert camp, and against the backdrop of a crippled and confused leadership headed by Moses, Pinehas took action.

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Songs for the Holy City: An Interfaith Evening of Music and Prayer

Songs for the Holy City: An Interfaith Evening of Music and Prayer

Jun 20, 2018 By The Jewish Theological Seminary | Public Event video

A unique gathering of clergy, vocalists, and musicians from the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian traditions leading us in song and prayer for the peace and future of Jerusalem/Yerushalayim/Al Quds. Inspired by similar gatherings in Jerusalem, the event tapped the collective power of our three faiths to help us transcend divisions and plant seeds of cooperation and respect.

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What Did the Spies Learn About the Land (Before They Even Went There)?

What Did the Spies Learn About the Land (Before They Even Went There)?

Jun 8, 2018 By Alex Sinclair | Commentary | Shelah Lekha

A Jewish leader is talking to a group of Diaspora Jews who are about to visit Israel. “Make sure you visit all over,” he says. “Find out what it’s like there. What are the people like? Is the food good? And when you come back, can you bring me a souvenir?”

Of course, I’m referring to Numbers 13:17–20. Yes, Shelah Lekha is the first example of Israel education in Jewish history. 

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Politics as a Jewish Vocation

Politics as a Jewish Vocation

May 18, 2018 By Arnold M. Eisen | Commentary | Bemidbar

The book of Bemidbar, which aims to help its readers navigate the chaotic wilderness in which the Children of Israel have always lived and wandered, deals more directly than any other book of the Torah with what the great sociologist Max Weber called “Politics as a Vocation.”

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