January 21, 2019

Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Parashat Shemot with Rabbi Sybil Sheridan

Our guest this week is Rabbi Sybil Sheridan, Chair of the Assembly of Reform Rabbis UK at the Movement for Reform Judaism. Rabbi Sheridan studied theology and religious studies at Cambridge. After graduation she began studies at Leo Baeck College and spent two years in Jerusalem, receiving semichah (ordination) in 1981. Her first post was at Ealing Liberal Synagogue and she joined Wimbledon and District Synagogue in 2003. Rabbi Sheridan has written and edited books including 'Hear Our Voice: Women Rabbis tell their Stories' and, with Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild, 'Taking up the Timbrel: the Challenge of Creating Ritual for Jewish Women Today'. She has a long experience of interfaith dialogue and is an advisor on Catholic Jewish relations for the Bishops Conference for England and Wales. She has presented Muslim Jewish text study seminars with Sheikha Halima Krausen for the last ten years and was Jewish Chaplain to Roehampton University. Rabbi Sheridan is also the founder of Meketa, a British based organisation working on behalf of the Jews in Gondar.

This week's Torah Portion – Parashat Shemot (Exodus 1:1-6:1) – features the beginning of the epic story of Moses and the exodus from Egypt. The portion features a description of the oppression of the people of Israel by Pharaoh, the birth of Moses, his flee to Midian, the story of the burning bush, and Moses' return to Egypt. Our discussion focuses on the decline of status of the Children of Israel in the first chapter of Shemot – noting the famous commentary of Ramban – and examines the actions of the midwives as a powerful biblical example of civil disobedience.

If you would like to learn  some more about Parashat Shemot, take a look at our discussion with Rabbi Amy Eilberg.