Our guest this week is Rabbi Ken Chasen, Senior Rabbi of Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles and an outspoken commentator and author on a wide variety of subjects pertaining to Jewish life, with a special emphasis on social justice in the U.S. and in Israel. His writings have appeared in a wide variety of national and international publications, including the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Reform Judaism and The Jewish Journal, among many others. Rabbi Chasen is also the co-author of two books which guide Jewish families in the creation of meaningful Jewish rituals in the home. In addition, he is a nationally recognized composer whose original liturgical and educational works are regularly heard in synagogues, religious schools, Jewish camps and sanctuaries across North America and in Israel.
This week’s Torah Portion – Parashat Emor (Leviticus 21:1-24:23) – begins with a set of purity regulations for priests. It then continues to list the main high holidays and to tell the story of a blasphemer who is stoned to death by the community. Our discussion focuses on the festival calendar of the Jewish year and on the much misunderstood “an eye for an eye” teaching.