Beyond Reach

Beyond Reach

Sep 20, 2017 By Barbara Mann | Commentary | Ha'azinu

Attentive the heart. The ear listening:
Is anyone coming?
Every expectation contains
the sadness of Nevo.

One facing the other—two shores
Of a single river.
The rock of fate:
Ever far apart.

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Facing Reality

Facing Reality

Sep 1, 2017 By Alex Sinclair | Commentary | Ki Tetzei

And so another school year begins. After a summer of camp, travel, or relaxation, reality bites. Schedule. Classes. Papers. Reality.

Ki Tetzei contains many moments which deal with cold, hard reality. You like that woman you took captive in war? Sorry, mate, you have to face reality, with rules and regulations (Deut. 21:10–14). Think that the son of your preferred wife can inherit, even though he’s not the first-born? No sirree: you have to deal with legal reality (21:15-17). 

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To Know or Not to Know

To Know or Not to Know

Aug 18, 2017 By Malka Strasberg Edinger | Commentary | Re'eh

The centralization of cultic worship is one of the major themes in the book of Deuteronomy. However, the place of that worship, the Temple, is described as “the place that God will choose,” with no mention of where that place is to exist. This week’s parashah, parashat Re’eh, introduces the theme that once in the Land of Israel, the Israelites are to worship their God in “hamakom asher yivhar Hashem” (the place that God will choose). This vague phraseology, which only alludes to a specific place but does not specify where that place is, is repeated 21 times throughout the book of Deuteronomy, with 16 of those occurrences in our parashah alone.

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“Like Tefillin Straps, Roads”

“Like Tefillin Straps, Roads”

Aug 4, 2017 By Yitzhak Lewis | Commentary | Va'et-hannan

Dress me, kosher mother [. . .]
And with Shaharit, lead me to labor.

My land is wrapped in light as a tallit
Houses stand like phylacteries And like tefillin straps, roads ride on that hands have paved. [. . .]

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Teaching Jewish History and Teaching Israel: The “Other” is Within “Our” Subject Matters

Teaching Jewish History and Teaching Israel: The “Other” is Within “Our” Subject Matters

Feb 13, 2017 By Ofra Backenroth | Public Event video

Ofra Backenroth and Alex Sinclair: “‘Present Absentees’: On the Place of Non-Jewish Israeli Narratives in Israel Education”

Meredith Katz and Jeffrey Kress: “Middle School Students and ‘The Other’ in an Online Jewish History Simulation Activity”

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A Scroll of The Song of Songs

A Scroll of The Song of Songs

Apr 14, 2017 By Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary | Commentary | Pesah

This decorated scroll of Shir Hashirim (which is read on the Shabbat of Pesah) is a product of the circle of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, dated to circa 1930, though the scribe and artist are unidentified. The artistic movement associated with this school was informed by the Zionist ideals of the society in which it was immersed.

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The Freshest Grain

The Freshest Grain

Mar 31, 2017 By Ofra Backenroth | Commentary | Vayikra | Shavuot

In a long narrative dedicated to sacrifices we find one hidden command to offer only the freshest and best grains, mixed with oils and scents. Through a multi sensory description the reader can sense the heavy kernels of grains, smell the scents, and vicariously participate in the powerful event of giving thanks to God with the offering of the first fruit.

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What Was Promised to Abraham?

What Was Promised to Abraham?

Nov 11, 2016 By Hillel Ben Sasson | Commentary | Lekh Lekha

In this week’s parashah, Abraham makes his dramatic first appearance on the stage of the Torah, when he follows the command to go forth to an unknown land, relying on the promise of an unknown God. His moving story, along with that of his sons and grandsons, has captivated readers from all three large monotheistic religions. Generation after generation wished to read these patriarchal and matriarchal stories into their lives, their time and place.

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