Our guest this week is Rabbi Rachel Timoner, Senior Rabbi of the Beth Elohim congregation in Brooklyn. Rabbi Timoner grew up in Miami, Florida, received a B.A. from Yale University, and received s’micha from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2009, where she was a Wexner Graduate Fellow. From 2009 to 2015, Rabbi Timoner served as Associate Rabbi of Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles. During this period she also served as a leader of Reform CA, a state-wide movement of more than 120 rabbis and many lay leaders to serve as a powerful voice for social justice in California, winning protection for 1.5 million undocumented immigrants and more than a billion dollars in affordable housing. From 1998 to 2004, she was a facilitator and consultant in organizational development and strategic planning. Prior to that, Rabbi Timoner raised funds to rebuild the San Francisco Women’s Building, a community center for low-income women; worked to mitigate the impact of welfare reform in California; worked in San Francisco City Hall for Supervisor Harry Britt; and founded two leadership programs and a peer hotline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered youth.
This week’s Torah portion – Parashat Beshalach (Exodus 13:17-17:16) – features the people of Israel being led out of Egypt by pillars of cloud and fire, the dramatic parting of the Red Sea, the song of Miriam, the bread from heaven, Moses hitting the rock, and Israel’s war with Amalek. Our discussion focuses on the fearful moment the people of Israel experience when the Egyptian army are closing in on them and on the deep effect this moment has on their liberation process.