November 13, 2018

Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parashat Nitzavim-Vayelech with Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky

Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky

Our guest this week is Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky, leader of the Anshe Chessed congregation in Manhattan. Rabbi Kalmanofsky was ordained in 1997 by The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he was a Wexner Graduate Fellow, and joined Anshe Chessed in 2001. He regularly publishes essays on Jewish thought and practice, and he serves on the Conservative movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards.

Parashat Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20) – begins with Moses gathering the people of Israel to enter them into a covenant with God. Moses then warns of the great desolation that will befall them if they stray from the covenant, but he assures them that if they repent God will bring them back together again from the ends of the world. Our discussion focuses on the idea of acknowledging our human imperfection and choosing life.

 

Our past discussions of Nitzavim Vayelech:

Rabbi Morley Feinstein on the difficulty of doing mitzvoth, repenting and making Jewish choices

Rabbi Marc Margolius on the evolution of Moses as a leader

Rabbi Richard Block on the nature and scope of Israel’s special covenant with God

 

Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parashat Ki Tetze

Photo by REUTERS/David W Cerny

While we don’t have a new Torah Talk for you today, we have collected all our past talks on Parashat Ki Tetze.

This Week’s Torah Portion – Parashat Ki Tetze (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19) – features a vast number of laws and commandments, including inheritance laws;  judicial procedures and penalties for adultery, rape and husbands who falsely accuse their wives of infidelity; laws concerning credit and debt; rules on the treatment of escaped slaves; and divorce laws. Overall, this week’s portion contains 74 of the Torah’s 613 commandments.

Here is Rabbi Michael Werbow on the command to remember Amalek and on the role of remembrance in the Torah in general:

 

Here is Rabbi Dovid Gutnick on the command to destroy Amalek and on the idea of vengeance as part of Jewish tradition:

 

Here is Rabbi Jennifer Krause on treating the mitzvot mentioned in the Parasha as a way of helping us uphold the dignity of all people:

 

And here is Rabbi Aaron Alexander on the eternal ban of the Ammonites and Moabites from the assembly of the Lord:

Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parashat Chukat with Rabbi Alan Green

Rabbi Alan Green

Our guest this week is Rabbi Alan Green of Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Winnipeg, Canada. Rabbi Green received his BA and MA in the History of Religions from UCLA, and studied Rabbinic Literature for three years at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles. He received rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, founder and Dean of the Aleph Alliance for Jewish Renewal, in 1991. Prior to Shaarey Zedek, Rabbi Green served as spiritual leader of Temple B’nai Emet in Montebello and as spiritual leader of Winnipeg’s Beth Israel Congregation. Rabbi Green has been Senior Rabbi of Shaarey Zedek since the fall of 2000.

This week’s Torah portion – Parashat Chukat (Numbers 19:1-22:1) – Features the death of Aaron and Miriam, brother and sister of Moses; the famous story of Moses striking the stone; and Israel’s battles against the Emorite kings Sichon and Og. Our talk focuses on the odd Red Cow decree and on the important role of death in the parasha.

Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parashat Beha’alotcha with Rabbi Rick Winer

Rabbi Rick Winer

Our guest this week is Rabbi Rick Winer of Temple Beth Israel in Fresno, CA. Rabbi Winer was ordained from Hebrew Union College in 1995, and he has been serving congregations ever since. He is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and is married to Rabbi Laura Novak Winer, an expert consultant in Jewish youth engagement.

This week’s Torah Portion – Parashat Beha’alotcha (Numbers 8:1-12:15) – begins with the lighting of the menorah and then goes on to describe the cleansing of the Levites and the first celebration of Passover in the desert. The Torah subsequently describes a series of bitter complaints made by the people of Israel about life in the desert, and the portion concludes with Moses’ sister Miriam speaking slander about Moses to their brother Aaron and getting punished for it with a terrible skin disease. Our discussion focuses on the family of Moses and on Miriam’s curious punishment.

Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parashat Nasso with Rabbi Thomas Gardner

Rabbi Thomas Gardner

Our guest this week is Rabbi Thomas Gardner, leader of the Riverdal Temple in NYC. Rabbi Gardner was ordained in 2008 by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. He’s the recipient of the Sarah and Samuel Chernick Memorial Prize in Halakhic Literature and the David G. Sacks Scholarship Prize. Rabbi Gardner also has a M.A.H.L. from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, an M.A. from the University of Michigan and a B.A. from Oberlin College. Prior to the Riverdale Temple, Rabbi Gardner served as the senior rabbi at Beth Shalom Synagogue in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for 8 years.
This Week’s Torah Portion – Parashat Nasso (Numbers 4:21-7:89) – begins with the completion of the head count of the people of Israel. God then gives Moses instructions concerning the purification of the camp, ‘wayward wives’ (wives which are suspected of being unfaithful to her husband) Nezirim (Jewish ascetics who take a vow to devote themselves to God), and the priestly Blessings. Toward the end of the parasha the tabernacle is consecrated and the chieftains of the different tribes bring their offerings. Our discussion focuses on the perplexing Sotah (wayward wive) ritual in an attempt to examine how cultural context affects our reading of the Torah.

Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parashat Bamidbar with Rabbi Amy Bernstein

Rabbi Amy Bernstein

Our guest this week is Rabbi Amy Bernstein, Senior Rabbi of the Kehillat Israel congregation in Pacific Palisades. An Atlanta native, Rabbi Bernstein has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Cultural Anthropology from Northwestern University, where she also earned a certificate in Women’s Studies. She is also an alumna of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. Before coming to KI, Rabbi Bernstein was the rabbi of Temple Israel in Duluth, Minnesota for 14 years. She served two terms as president of the Arrowhead Interfaith Council and six years on the Board of Trustees of the College of St. Scholastica, where she was also on the founding board of the Oreck/Alpern Inter-religious Forum. She was a scholar-in-residence for the Jewish Chautauqua Society and lectured widely throughout the Northland. Outside of her rabbinical work, Rabbi Bernstein performs as a member of Three Altos, a vocal trio.

This Week’s Torah Portion – Parashat Bamidbar (Numbers 1:1-4:20) – is the first portion read from the book of Numbers. The Parasha tells us about an elaborate census of the tribes of Israel conducted by Moses in the desert and continues to discuss the priests’ ceremonial duties. Our discussion focuses on the meaning behind the counting of the people of Israel and on their long, gruelling transformation from slaves to a nation of priests.

Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parashat Tazria-Metzora with Rabbi Jonathan Aaron

Rabbi Jonathan Aaron

Our guest this week is Rabbi Jonathan Aaron, Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills. Rabbi Aaron received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater from Emerson College in 1983. He later attended Hebrew Union College, where he received a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education in 1993, and a Master’s Degree in Hebrew Letters in 1994, and was ordained as a Rabbi in 1996. Since ordination, Rabbi Aaron has served Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills in several roles; first as an Assistant, then Associate Rabbi, and now as Co-Senior Rabbi. He has also been Director of Education, and served as the Head of Temple Emanuel Academy Day School for almost a decade. Rabbi Aaron serves as a sworn-in Police Chaplain in the Beverly Hills Police Department, and is on the Board of Directors at The Maple Counseling Center in Beverly Hills. He also has been a visiting professor at Hebrew Union College — Jewish Institute of Religion, where he has taught speech to second-year rabbinical students for more than 10 years.

This week’s double parashah – Parashat Tazria-Metzora (Leviticus 12:1-15:33) – features rules concerning the purity and impurity of women and the horrible disease of leprosy. Our discussion focuses on the priests’ curious attitude toward people inflicted with skin disease.

Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parashat Shemini with Rabbi Daniel Fellman

Rabbi Daniel Fellman

Our guest this week is Rabbi Daniel Fellman, leader of Temple Concord in Syracuse, NY. Rabbi Fellman formerly served as Assistant and Associate Rabbi at Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick, NJ. He graduated from Colorado College with a degree in political science in 1996 and the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion with a master’s degree in Hebrew Letters in 2004 and was ordained in 2005. He was selected for Forty Under Forty in Syracuse in 2011. He currently serves on the Board of Interfaith Works and on the City/County Human Rights Commission. He also serves on the board of the Jewish Federation, the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation of Central New York, and the University Hill Corporation. He served as a White House intern in the Clinton administration and was a Japan-US Senate Scholar.

This week’s Torah Portion – Parashat Shmini (Leviticus 9:1-11:47) – tells us about God’s acceptance of Aaron’s offering, the deaths of Aaron’s sons Nadav and Aviu, and regulations concerning clean and unclean animals. Our discussion focuses on the themes of grief, silence, and holiness in the parasha.

Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parashat Vayikra with Rabbi Shaanan Gelman

Rabbi Shaanan Gelman

Our guest this wek is Rabbi Shaanan Gelman, leader of Kehilat Chovevei Tzion in Skokie, Illinois. Rabbi Gelman was born in Buffalo, NY and grew up in the Bronx. He earned a B.S. in Computer Science at Yeshiva College and Semicha from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanon Theological Seminary. He spent three years studying in Israel, two at Yeshivat Hakotel and later on at the Gruss Institute in Bayit Vegan. He was a Kollel Fellow in the Boca Raton Community Kollel, where he served as spiritual leader of the Explanatory Service as well as held the Gimmelstob chair in Education at the local Jewish Federation.  Rabbi Gelman is a member of the Rabbinical Council of America, and serves on the executive board. He is an active member of the Chicago Rabbinical Council as well as serving on the board of the Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago. Rabbi Gelman is a fervent Zionist and is active in AIPAC.

This week’s Torah Portion – Parashat Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1-5:26) – is the first portion of the book of Leviticus. The portion introduces the sacrificial service and describes five different kinds of sacrifice. Our discussion focuses on the Moses and Aaron relationship and on sibling relationships in the Bible.

 

Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei with Rabbi Tom Heyn

Rabbi Tom Heyn

Our guest this week is Rabbi Tom Heyn, leader of Temple Israel of the Greater Miami. Raised in a secular Jewish family in Baltimore, Rabbi Heyn underwent several transformative spiritual experiences before returning to and embracing his Jewish roots. He earned his BA in History and Hebrew Studies from the University of Wisconsin and his MA and Rabbinic Ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He also completed his clinical education and training in pastoral care (CPE) through leading institutions such as Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Rabbi Heyn has served both urban and rural communities (most recently in Brattleboro, Vermont) as a congregational rabbi, Jewish educator, hospice chaplain, professional musician and spiritual guide.

Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei – (Exodus 35:1-40:38) – begins with Moses commanding the people of Israel to observe the Shabbat and continues to tell us in great detail about the building of the Tabernacle. Pekudei, the last reading from Exodus begins with an audit of how the contributions for the Tabernacle (the Mishkan) were used. The portion goes on to describe the completion of the Tabernacle and its assembly and concludes by depicting the glory of the lord entering it. Our discussion focuses on the similarities and differences between the Mishkan and the temples of today.

Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parashat Ki Tisa with Rabbi Charles Arian

Rabbi Charles Arian with the Kehilat Shalom Cantor Kimberley Komrad

Our guest this week is Rabbi Charles Arian, of the Kehilat Shalom congregation in Gaithersburg, MD. Rabbi Arian joined the Kehilat Shalom in the summer of 2012. Previously, he was the rabbi of Beth Jacob Synagogue in Norwich, CT. He was raised in Brooklyn, New York, and Hazlet, New Jersey, and received his undergraduate degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. He received his MAHL degree and his rabbinic ordination from the Cincinnati campus of Hebrew Union College, and his Doctorate of Divinity, honoris causa, from the New York campus of Hebrew Union College on May 5, 2011. Although originally ordained as a Reform rabbi, he became affiliated with the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly while working for the Hillel Foundations.

This Week’s Torah Portion – Parashat Ki Tisa (Exodus 30:11-34:35) – begins with the census of the people of Israel and with further instructions concerning the Tabernacle and the Shabbat. The portion then proceeds to tell the story of the Golden Calf, Moses’ plea to god, the splitting of the Tablets into two, and the giving of the second tablets. Our talk focuses on the idea of taking personal responsibility for our actions.

Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parashat Yitro with Rabbi Ari Weiss

Rabbi Ari Weiss

Our guest this week is Rabbi Ari Weiss of Cornell Hillel at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Rabbi Weiss received his rabbinical ordination from YCT Rabbinical School. He has studied philosophy and Jewish studies at graduate schools in New York and Jerusalem and received his B.A. from Yeshiva College, where he studied Philosophy and Religion. Rabbi Weiss recently served as the Interim Managing Director and Senior Director of Jewish Education at NEXT: A Division of the Birthright Israel Foundation. Prior to joining NEXT, Ari was the Executive Director of Uri L’Tzedek, an Orthodox social justice organization, and grew it to engage tens of thousands of people in 15 cities.

This week’s Torah portion – Parashat Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23) – begins with the advice given by Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, to the people of Israel, and continues to tell us about the gathering of the people of Israel at Mount Sinai and about the giving of the Ten Commandments. Our discussion tries to find out how many commandments there really are in the Ten Commandments.