January 19, 2019

Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Parashat Kedoshim with Rabbi Matthew Soffer

Our guest this week is Rabbi Matthew Soffer, assistant rabbi at Temple Israel in Boston & director of the Riverway project. Rabbi Soffer worked as an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Fellow at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, DC, and from 2003-2005 he worked for the Union for Reform Judaism, as the advisor to the Executive Board of the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY).  During his years at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), Matt was a Bonnie and Daniel Tisch Rabbinical Fellow, A Kavod Tzedakah Fellow, and he served as Revson Rabbinical Fellow at Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, NY, where he coordinated social justice activities and organized Brooklyn Jews, the 20s and 30s project of the congregation. After his ordination in May 2010, he joined the Temple Israel community as an assistant Rabbi and the Director of the Riverway Project.

This Week’s Torah Portion– Parashat Kedoshim (Leviticus 19:1- 20:27)- features God telling Moses to give the people of Israel a set of rules which are meant to help them live a life of holiness. These rules include variations on several of the ten commanments, as well as different laws concerning basic ethical behavior (prohibitions on cheating, stealing and false oaths), harvest, religious rituals, and sexual conduct. Our discussion focuses, among other things, on the idea of “commanding love” and on whether that’s even possible.

If you would like to learn some more about parashat Kedoshim, check out our very first Torah-Talk with Rabbi Rick Jacobs.