January 23, 2019

Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Parashat Nitzavim with Rabbi Morley Feinstein

Our guest this week is Rabbi Morley Feinstein of L.A.’s University Synagogue. Rabbi Feinstein attended the University of California, Berkeley where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with highest honors. Ordained in 1981 at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Rabbi Feinstein served as the assistant and first associate rabbi of Temple Beth-El in San Antonio, Texas. From 1987 to 2002, he served as senior rabbi of Temple Beth-El in South Bend, Indiana. During his tenure there, he received Indiana’s highest citizen honor – The Sagamore of the Wabash – from its governor for his efforts in promoting peace and justice. Named a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of Jerusalem’s Shalom Hartman Institute, Rabbi Feinstein brings his deep commitment and passion for Torah, filled with energy, a zest for learning, and his love of music to his sacred work. He has devoted time for thirty one summers teaching at the camps of the Union for Reform Judaism. Rabbi Feinstein serves on the Los Angeles Council of Religious Leaders and is the president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California.

This week's Torah portion – Parashat Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20) – begins with Moses gathering the people of Israel to enter them into a covenant with God. Moses then warns of the great desolation that will befall them if they stray from the covenant, but he assures them that if they repent God will bring them back together again from the ends of the world.  Our discussion focuses on the difficulty of doing mitzvoth, repenting, and making Jewish choices.

Our previous discussions of Nitzavim:

Rabbi Marc Margolis on the evolution of Moses as a leader

Rabbi Richard Block on the nature and the scope of the special covenant with God