November 17, 2018

Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Parashat Emor with Rabbi Steven Engel

Our guest this week is Rabbi Steven Engel, leader of the Congregation of Reform Judaism in Orlando, Florida. Rabbi Engel received a B.A. in Physics from Rutgers University, a Masters of Arts in Hebrew Letters from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, and Rabbinic Ordination from the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. After ordination he served as Associate Rabbi in Columbus, Ohio. He then became the spiritual leader of Mississippi’s largest congregation, Temple Beth Israel. He has served as adjunct professor of religion at Millsaps College, on various Bio-Ethics Committees, on various committees of his Professional Rabbinic Organization (CCAR), as the Rabbinic Co-Chair of the Reform Movement’s Israel Organization (ARZA), on the Executive Committee of his regional Rabbinic Organization (SEACCAR), and as President of the Greater Orlando Board of Members (GOBOR).

This week's Torah Portion – Parashat Emor (Leviticus 21:1-24:23) – begins with a set of purity regulations for priests. It then continues to list the main high holidays and to tell the story of a blasphemer who is stoned to death by the community. Our discussion focuses on the disparity between what we do in the sanctuary (or in synagogue) and what we do outside that holy space (in our daily lives).

Our past discussions about parashat Emor:

Rabbi Ted Falcon on experiencing holiness and spirituality beyond the realm of religious ritual and on the mystical significance of the counting of the Omer

Rabbi Sara Hurwitz on the story of the blasphemer who was stoned to death by the community