November 19, 2018

Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Parashat Bechukotai with Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton

Our guest this week is Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton of the Or Haneshama congregation in Ottowa, Canada. Rabbi Bolton was ordained at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1996. After serving as chaplain for the Philadelphia Geriatric Center and as an adjunct instructor with the RRC, Rabbi Bolton was hired to lead Beit Tikvah, a Reconstructionist congregation in Baltimore, in 1999. She worked there for more than 12 years, a period that included experiences with conflict resolution, holocaust education, at-risk children in Ghana, and the founding of a multi-faith non-profit group that provided shelter and support for homeless families. In 2013 she arrived in Ottowa, where she became the city’s first female congregational rabbi and the city’s first openly gay rabbi.

In this week’s Torah portion – Parashat Bechukotai (Leviticus 26:3-27:34) – God promises the people of Israel prosperity if they follow his commandments and warns them of exile and persecution if they abandon his laws. The Torah then discusses different types of gifts given to the Temple, and the animal tithe. Our discussion focuses on the curious mention of cursed women in the parasha, which serves as a rare reminder that women actually played a part in the community in the world of the Torah.

If you would like to learn more about parashat Bechukotai, take a look at our discussion with Rabbi Gilad Kariv.