Rabbi Laura Geller
On all other Passovers, we might have celebrated with family and friends. On all other Passovers, memories of growing up around the seder table,...
One of my favorite biblical verses is Psalm 118:5, “Min ha metzar Karati Ya; Anani b’merchav ya — From the narrow place I call...
Margaret Mead once said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Last weekend, as I listened to the reading of the Purim Megillah, I was struck by its theme of reversals.
I just returned from a four-day alumni retreat for rabbis and cantors who had taken part in an Institute for Jewish Spirituality program designed to deepen our own spiritual commitments.
Maybe it is thinking about the New Year that brings up the subject. Or maybe because the holiday season is a time when families come together and talk. For whatever reason, within the last few week s NPR did a story on “The Conversation Project,” and the LA Times had an Opinion piece on “The Conversation.” You know what I mean—that difficult conversation about what we want at the end of our life.
This week’s Torah portion begins: “YHVH appeared to Abraham as he was sitting at the entrance of the tent … looking up, he saw: behold, three men standing opposite him.
Tradition tells us that the Gates of Repentance stay open until the end of Sukkot. The intensity of Yom Kippur has diminished, but we still remember the hours together, knocking on our hearts, trying to do spiritual CPR, to wake us up to the truth of our lives.
I was in college when I first heard the Beatles sing “When I’m Sixty-four.” The idea of getting older, losing my hair or wondering whether my partner would still need me was not my concern. But now, with Paul McCartney over 70, and me just one year away from 64, it’s a different story.
In reflecting on the 50th anniversary of Betty Friedan’s groundbreaking “The Feminine Mystique,” Stephanie Coontz wrote in The New York Times that “readers who return to this feminist classic today are often puzzled by the absence of concrete political proposals to change the status of women. But ‘The Feminine Mystique’ has the impact it did because it focused on transforming women’s personal consciousness.”
In reflecting on the 50th anniversary of Betty Friedan’s groundbreaking The Feminine Mystique, Stephanie Coontz wrote in the New York Times that “readers who return to this feminist classic today are often puzzled by the absence of concrete political proposals to change the status of women. But The Feminine Mystique has the impact it did because it focused on transforming women’s personal consciousness.”
We approached the entrance to the Kotel Plaza a little before 7 a.m. on Rosh Hodesh Tevet. In my bag was my tallit, the beautiful purple-and-blue one that was hand woven as a gift from the students and faculty at USC more than 20 years ago, when I completed my time there as the Hillel rabbi.
The High Holy Day liturgy includes the poignant plea: \"Do not cast me off b\'eyt zikna,\" which is usually translated as \"when I get old.\" It is a fear many of us have, but are often afraid to articulate. We live in a youth-intoxicated culture where older people are sometimes invisible.
“Boomers [people born between 1946 and 1964] are the first generation in human history … to reasonably anticipate living well and wholesomely into their 80s and 90s, if not beyond,” sociologist Steven Cohen writes. “But not only are Jews (as others) living longer, they are living in an age of meaning-seeking, with the interest and wherewithal to make living a life of meaning an ultimate and reasonably obtainable objective for any point in their lives.”
Last week’s Torah portion ends with a genealogy, a long list of names of who begot whom and how long they lived. It is one of many genealogies in the Torah. It used to be that when I encountered those lists, I tuned out; I found them boring. But then I read a book by Thomas Cahill called “The Gifts of the Jews” (Anchor, 1999).
I recently received an e-mail with the subject line “The Arab Mentality.” It described a Palestinian woman who had been badly burned and successfully treated in Israel, only to be arrested later for attempting to infiltrate Israel’s borders as a suicide bomber. The sender included the names of all those who had received the posting. My name was in the middle of the list.
In some prayer books, the opening verses of this week’s Torah portion serve as a preparation for prayer. The verses repeat over and over again that a perpetual fire shall continue to burn on the altar. Why the focus on the need to keep the fire burning? And what does it mean to us now, after the destruction of the Temple and the end of the sacrificial system, when there is no longer a literal fire?
On a recent trip to Spain, Morocco and Israel called “In the Footsteps of Maimonides,” the members of our group from Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills were the honored guests at a reception at the residence of the American ambassador to Spain, which became the occasion for a gathering of many of Spain’s Jewish leaders.
“Anyone who has never read the entire Chumash with Rashi is simply not Jewishly literate,” said Rabbi David Hartman, with whom I was studying 14 years ago at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. “It doesn’t matter whether you read it in Hebrew or English, but you must go through the Five Books of Moses with Rashi’s commentary.”
This week’s portion begins a new book of the Bible, Leviticus. It is fascinating to look at the first and last words of each of the books of the Torah: Genesis: When God began to create the heavens and the earth ... in a coffin in Egypt. Exodus: These are the names of the children of Israel who came to Egypt ... throughout their journeys. Leviticus: The Lord called out to Moses ... on Mount Sinai. Numbers: In the wilderness of Sinai ... on the Jordan opposite Jericho. Deuteronomy: These are the words which Moses spoke ... in the sight of all Israel.
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The Media Line — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas conducted his first diplomatic tour of the year, meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah in Aqaba...
The tweet that Tlaib retweeted read, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is bracing for a stormy four years.
Nikki Haley called on the administration to declassify a report detailing the current number of Palestinian refugees who are receiving aid from the UNRWA.
A professor at a university in Michigan has been placed on administrative leave after the student newspaper unearthed a series of his anti-Semitic tweets.