November 21, 2019

Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parshat Lech Lecha with Rabbi Mathew Marko

Congregation Beth Israel’s Rabbi, Mathew Marko, hails from Brooklyn N.Y. and survived 18 years in California. His career adventures have included acting professionally at the Hippodrome State Theatre in Florida and The Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles, development and fundraising, teaching students as a much demanded substitute teacher in LA’s school district, and proprietor of a fine carpentry and custom furniture shop in Los Angeles.

Beth Israel is in Greenville, South Carolina.

Parashat Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1–17:27) – features Abram’s Journey to the land of Canaan, his forced departure to Egypt, his covenant with God, the birth of Ishmael, Abram’s circumcision, and the changing of his name to Abraham.



Previous Torah Talks on Lech Lecha

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Rabbi Hyim Shafner

Rabbi Michelle Dardashti

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

Rabbi Avram Mlotek

Rabbi Alissa Thomas-Newborn










Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parshat Noah with Rabbi Alexandra Wright

Rabbi Alexandra Wright, senior rabbi of The Liberal Jewish Synagogue (LJS) in London, Britain, was ordained at Leo Baeck College in 1986. In 2004 she made history by becoming Britain’s first ever female senior rabbi. She is active in the Council of Christians and Jews, has taught classical Hebrew at Leo Baeck College and, for five years, served as the North London Hospice’s Jewish chaplain on their multi-faith chaplaincy team.

The parsha we discuss is Noah, the second parsaha of the Torah. We talk about the flood, the animals that were punished along with the humans, and the protagonist – Noah.



Previous Talks on Noah

Rabbi Lucy Dinner

Rabbi Mishael Zion

Rabbi Sarah Hronsky

Rabbi Mosheh Lichtenstein

Rabbi Yona Berman

Rabbi Benjamin Sternman




Rosner’s Torah Talk: Sukkot with Rabbi Steven Henkin


Steven Henkin is the rabbi of Congregation Agudath Achim in Savannah Georgia.  A native of the Chicago suburbs, Rabbi Henkin received his B.A. in Jewish Studies, Religious Studies, and Psychology from the University of Minnesota before moving to Atlanta, where he earned his M.A. in Jewish Studies from Emory University and worked in the religious school at Ahavath Achim Synagogue.  He later moved to Los Angeles to attend the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, where he received his rabbinic ordination and M.A. in Rabbinic Studies in 2014.

Our discussion focuses on Sukkoth, and the commandment to be joyous.



Previous Torah Talks:

On parshat Haazinu

Rabbi Gidon Rothstein

Rabbi Sivan Malkin

On Sukkoth:

Rabbi Jair Melchior

Rabbi Yoshi Zweibeck

Rabbi David Segal

Rabbi Naftali Rothenberg


Shmuel’s book, #IsraeliJudaism, Portrait of a Cultural Revolution, is now available in English. The Jewish Review of Books called it “important, accessible new study”. Haaretz called it “impressively broad survey”. Order it here:

Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parshat Vayelech with Rabbi Michael Cahana

Michael Z. Cahana is the rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in Portland, Oregon. Rabbi Cahana’s academic interests are the interface of religion and science with a particular emphasis on medical ethics. He has served on the Central Conference of American Rabbi’s Committee on Human Sexuality and chaired its ad hoc committee on Physician Assisted Suicide. He currently chairs the Resolutions Committee.

In 1999, Rabbi Cahana was featured, along with his family, in the critically acclaimed documentary “The Last Days.” The film tells the true stories of five Hungarian survivors of the Holocaust, including Rabbi Cahana’s mother – the renowned Holocaust artist Alice Lok Cahana (z”l). “The Last Days” won the 1999 Academy Award for “Best Documentary.” In 2009.

Our discussion focuses on the King’s reading of the Torah for the people.



Previous Torah Talks on Vayelech

Rabbi Robert Haas

Rabbi Galia Sadan

Rabbi Eric Solomon


Shmuel’s book, #IsraeliJudaism, Portrait of a Cultural Revolution, is now available in English. The Jewish Review of Books called it “important, accessible new study”. Haaretz called it “impressively broad survey”. Order it here:


Rosner’s Torah Talk: Rosh Hashanah with Rabbi Micha Odenheimer

Micha Odenheimer is the founder and director of Tevel B’tzedek. Micha was born in Berkley, California. He received his B.A. from Yale University, and was a student and close friend of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. In 1988 Micha immigrated to Israel and ever since has been working in social activism in Israeli society, and has lectured and written extensively on Judaism and social justice. A prolific journalist, Micha has reported on poverty, globalization and human rights from around the world including Somalia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Burma, Haiti, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Micha also founded the Israeli Association for Ethiopian Jewry, which was, and remains to this day, one of the most instrumental and valued organizations dealing with the absorption of Ethiopian immigration to Israel. 

Our conversation focuses on Hasidic and Kabalistic interpretations of Rosh Hashanah, and the universalistic message of the holiday.



Previous Talks on Rosh Hashanah

Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein

Rabbi Michael Schudrich

Rabbi Steven Wernick


Shmuel’s book, #IsraeliJudaism, Portrait of a Cultural Revolution, is now available in English. The Jewish Review of Books called it “important, accessible new study”. Haaretz called it “impressively broad survey”. Order it here:

Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parshat Re’eh with Rabbi Michael Rothbaum

Rabbi Michael Rothbaum serves as rabbi of Congregation Beth Elohim in Acton, Massachusetts.  A distinguished and award-winning religious leader, speaker, and writer, Rabbi Mike is devoted to creating and nurturing vibrant learning communities, and sharing his love of Torah and commitment to justice in formal and informal settings.

In this Week’s Torah Portion – Parashat Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17) – Moses continues speaking to the people of Israel right before he passes away and before they cross the Jordan River and enter the Promised Land. Moses asks them to recite certain blessings and curses on Mount Grizzim and Mount Ebal after they enter Israel. He demands that they destroy all remnants of idolatry from the Promised Land and asks them to choose a city which will host the Holy Temple. The Parasha also discusses false prophets, kashrut, the sabbatical year and charity. Our discussion focuses on economic justice in the parsha.



Previous Torah Talks on Re’eh

Rabbi Bradly Shavit Artson

Rabbi Efrem Goldberg

Rabbi Ben Elton

Rabbi Deborah Silver

Rabbi Baht Yameem








Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parshat Ekev with Rabbi Rory Katz

Rory Katz is the brand new rabbi of Congregation Chevrei Tzedek of Baltimore. She received her ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary this past May, where she also completed two 400-hour units of training in Clinical Pastoral Care. Prior to becoming a rabbi, she worked as a case manager in a Head Start preschool program on the South Side of Chicago, as a volunteer coordinator in North Philadelphia. She is excited to be building a new home for herself in Baltimore, so feel free to contact her with your favorite spots in the city!
In this Week’s Torah Portion – Parashat Ekev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25) – Moses continues his address to the people of Israel, promising them that they will prosper in the land of Israel if they obey God’s commandments. He reminds them of their sins, but stresses God’s forgiveness. Moses describes the land of Israel to the people, demands that they destroy the idols of its former dwellers, and warns them of thinking that their power and might, rather than the lord, have gotten them their wealth. Our discussion focuses on the concept of punishment and reward, on the importance of destroying idols and on the Land’s richness.
Previous Torah Talks on Ekev

Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parshat Shelach with Rabbi Tamar Elad Appelbaum

Rabbi Elad-Appelbaum is the founder and spiritual leader of Kehilat Zion of Jerusalem and co-founder of the seminary for Israeli rabbis of Hamidrasha and the Hartman Institute. Rabbi Elad-Appelbaum’s works to advance a Jewish spiritual and ethical renaissance.

We discuss parshat Shelach, the story of the spies and the mitzvah of Tzitzit.

Previous Torah Talks on Shelach

Rabbi Michael Melchior

Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz

Rabbi Debra Newman Kamin

Rabbi Shana Mackler

Rabbi Marci Bellows

Rabbi Benji Stanley

Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parshat Bechukotai with Rabbi Marc Philippe

Rabbi Marc Philippe received smicha from Yeshiva Toras Israel in Jerusalem, also known as Diaspora Yeshiva. He has been a citizen of the world since childhood, having grown up on four continents. Beyond his role as Temple Emanu-El’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Philippe is a cantor, musician, composer, and conductor. Studying at Paris’ prestigious Ecole Normale de Musique, he earned a Masters degree and later received a second degree at the Conservatoire Maurice Ravel. During the same period, he was a student at the Institutions Talmudiques Yeshiva Yad Mordechai. Rabbi Philippe honed his cantorial skills as a conductor at the Consistoire Israelite de Paris. He then served the Choeur et Orchestre Philharmonique Européen, Orchestre Paris Pops and the Orchestre de I’lle de la Cite in various professional capacities.

Our parsha is bechokotai. In this parsha God promises that if the people of Israel will keep His commandments, they will enjoy  prosperity and be secure on their land. But He also is warning from persecution and exile if the people abandon the covenant with God.


Previous Torah Talks on Bechukotai

Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parshat Behar with Rabbi Howard Finkelstein

Rabbi Finkelstein has been the spiritual leader of Beit Tikvah of Ottawa (formerly Beth Shalom West) since August 1991. Before that he served as Rabbi in Kingston, Ontario for 12 years. Rabbi Finkelstein is the Dean of Judaic Studies at the Ottawa Jewish Community School. He was the Judaic Studies Principal at Yitzhak Rabin High School from 1995-2015.

In Parshat Behar communicates to the laws of the Sabbatical year: in a seventh year, work on the land should cease, and its produce becomes free for the taking for all.Seven Sabbatical cycles are followed by the Jubilee year, on which work on the land ceases, all servants are set free, and revert to their original owners (only in the holy land).



Torah Talks on Behar-Behukotai

Rabbi Asher Lopatin

Rabbi Danny Burkeman

Rabbi Tuvia Brander

Rabbi Tuvia Brander





Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parshat Kedoshim with Rabbi Jeffrey Weill

Rabbi Jeffrey Weill has been the rabbi of Ezra Habonim, the Niles Township Jewish Congregation (Illinois) since July 2012.  Rabbi Weill was an advocacy and community relations specialist for Jewish organizations, including the Jewish United Fund-Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and the American Jewish Committee.

Parshat Kedoshim is about holiness. How does one become holy? According to our parsha, it is by keeping the prohibition against idolatry, the mitzvah of charity, the principle of equality before the law, Shabbat, sexual morality, honesty in business, and more.

But why be holy? Rabbi Well attempted to answer this question.



Previous Talks on Kedoshim

Rabbi Matthew Sofer

Rabbi Joel Mosbacher



Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parshat Trumah with Rabbi David Wolkenfeld

Rabbi David Wolkenfeld is the rabbi of Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation in Chicago’s Lakeview neighbourhood. He grew up in Manhattan, has a B.A. in History from Harvard University and has completed graduate coursework in Medieval Jewish History at Yeshiva University. He  studied at Yeshivat Hamivtar in Efrat and also at Yeshivat Har Etzion in Alon Shvut. He has semikhah (rabbinic ordination) from Rabbi Zalman Nehemiah Goldberg, and Rabbi She’ar Yashuv Kohen in Israel, and from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in New York.

In parshat Trumah the people of Israel are called upon to contribute to the building of the temple – gold, silver, copper, dyed wool, animal skins, and more. On Mount Sinai, Moses is given detailed instructions on how to construct this Temple. In the Sanctuary’s inner chamber, was the ark, containing the tablets with the Ten Commandments. In the outer chamber stood the seven-branched menorah. Outside the sanctuary stood the copper-plated altar.



Previous Talks on Parshat Trumah

Rabbi Jason Miller

Rabbi Carl Perkins

Rabbi Michael Boyden

Rabbi Dov Asher

Rabbi Jason Strauss





Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parshat Vayishlach with Rabbi Katie Mizrahi

Rabbi Katie Mizrahi is the spiritual leader of Or Shalom in san Francisco. Rabbi Mizrahi  was ordained through the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2005. Previously, she studied for several years in Jerusalem, while devoting herself to human rights projects and peace education. Rabbi Katie grew up in Boulder, Colorado. She came to the Bay Area as a undergraduate at Stanford, where she majored in philosophy and religious studies, and first felt the call of the rabbinate.

This week’s Torah portion — Parashat Vayishlach (Genesis 32:3-36:43) — features Jacob’s meeting with Esau, his wrestling with an angel, the defiling of Dinah, the death of Isaac and Rachel, and the renaming of Jacob. We begin our conversation in trying to understand what’s wrong with the name Jacob – and why was a need for change.



Previous Torah Talks on Vayishlach

Rabbi Pam Frydman

Rabbi Gideon Sylvester

Rabbi Robin Nafshi

Rabbi Susan Leider

Rabbi Mimi Feigelson



Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parshat Toldot with Rabbi Jeremy Rosen

Jeremy Rosen, is an orthodox rabbi, born in Manchester. Studied philosophy at Cambridge University in England and Be’er Yaakov and Mir yeshivot in Israel where he received Semicha. He has served as a community rabbi of orthodox congregations in Scotland and England. He was Principal of Carmel College in Oxfordshire, Professor and Chairman of the Faculty for Comparative Religion Wilrijk Belgium and Rabbi and Director of the YAKAR Educational Foundation in London. He retired to New York where he is the rabbi of the Persian Jewish community in Manhattan and lectures at the JCC of Manhattan.

This week’s Torah portion — Parashat Toldot  (Genesis 25:19-28:9) — tells us the fascinating story of Jacob and Esau and of the selling of Esau’s birthright to Jacob. Our discussion focuses on good guys, bad guys and the many faces of the Torah.



Previous Torah Talks on Toldot

Rabbi Robert Scheinberg

Rabbi Adina Lewittes

Rabbi Yael Saidoff

Rabbi Aderet Drucker

Maharat Ruth Balinsky





Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parshat Vayera with Rabbi Adam Roffman

Rabbi Adam Roffman serves Congregation Shearith Israel in Dallas Texas. He is a graduate of Amherst College with a degree in Political Science, and Circle in the Square Theatre School with a certificate in Musical Theatre Performance. He began his rabbinic education at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Rabbi Roffman graduated with a Masters in Talmud from the Jewish Theological Seminary where he was awarded the The Rabbi Max Gelb Memorial Prize in Talmud and the Israel H. Levinthal Prize in Homiletics.

This week’s Torah portion —Parashat Vayera (Genesis 18:1-22:24) — features several of the most well-known stories in the Bible, including the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the birth of Isaac, the banishment of Hagar and Ishmael, and the binding of Issac. Our discussion focuses on angels and their role in the world.



Previous Torah Talks on Vayera

Rabbi Dahlia Bernstein

Rabbi Leah Cohen

Rabbi Eitan Mintz

Rabbi Talia Avnon-Benvenisti

Rabbi Amy Levin




Rosner’s Torah Talk: Sukkot’s Shabbat with Rabbi Adam Stock Spilker

Rabbi Adam Stock Spilker has served as a rabbi at Mount Zion since 1997. When he and Cantor Spilker came to the congregation, he led adult and family education and youth activities for four years.  In 2001, he was selected as senior rabbi.  Rabbi Spilker graduated magna cum laude with an A.B. in Religious Studies from Duke University in 1991 and was ordained as a rabbi with a Masters of Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City in 1997.  He and Cantor Spilker have three children.

In the Shabbat of Sukkot we read how Moses requests to be shown G‑d’s glory. G‑d tells Moses to carve new tablets for the Ten Commandments. G‑d seals a covenant with Moses. He instructs the people to destroy all vestiges of idolatry from the land.The Jews are commanded to observe the three festivals — including Sukkot, “the festival of the ingathering, at the turn of the year.” The maftir, from the Book of Numbers, discusses the public offerings brought in the Temple on this day of Sukkot.




Rosner’s Torah Talk: Matot-Masei with Rabbi Ariana Silverman

Ariana Silverman is the Rabbi of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue, the last freestanding synagogue in the City of Detroit. Raised in Chicago, she received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University, her ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and is an alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Program. She lives in Detroit with her family.

This Week’s Torah portion – Parashat Matot-Masei (Numbers 30:2-36:13) – begins with Moses presenting the heads of the tribes with rules concerning the annulment of vows. War is waged against Midian and the Torah lists the different spoils Israel took hold of in their victory and describes how they are distributed. The tribes of Gad, Reuben and half of Menashe ask Moses for the territory East of the Jordan as their portion of the promised land, and Moses eventually agrees on the condition that they first help conquering the west part West of the Jordan. The boundaries of the Promised Land are stated, and cities of refuge are designated as havens for people who commit inadvertent murder. The portion ends with the story of the daughters of Tzelafchad marrying men of their own tribe (Menashe) in order to keep the estate which they inherited from their father within their own tribe. Our conversation focuses on the two and a half tribes’ request for land and on what this episode could teach us about conflict resolution.
Previous Torah Talks about Matot-Masei
Rabbi Uri Regev

Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parshat Balak with Rabbi Jonathan Freirich

Rabbi Jonathan Freirich is the rabbi of Temple Beth Zion in Buffalo.

Rabbi Freirich received rabbinic ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1999. Since becoming a rabbi, he has served Jews of all ages at Hillel organizations on college campuses in Tucson and Cleveland, at Jewish homes for the aged, at a vibrant Reform congregation named Temple Bat Yam in the mountains of South Lake Tahoe, and most recently, at the premier Reform synagogue of the Carolinas, Temple Beth El in Charlotte.

This Week’s Torah portion – Parashat Balak (Numbers 22:2-25:9) – features the famous story of the prophet Bilaam, who was sent by the Moabite king Balak to curse the people of Israel. On his way, Bilaam is berated by his Donkey who sees an angel of God blocking the road. Bilaam tries to curse the people of Israel three times (from three different vantage points) and each time ends up blessing them. He then continues to prophesize on the end of days and the coming of the Messiah. Our discussion tries to examine Bilaam’s odd story, its message, and its special status in Judaism.


Previous Torah Talks on Balak:

Rabbi Elliot Dorff

Rabbi Steven Bayar

Rabbi Barry Dolinger

Rabbi Joey Wolf

Rabbi Brett Krichiver






Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parshat Chukat With Rabbi David Cohen Henriquez

Born and raised in Panama City, Panama Rabbi David CohenHenriquez brings a diverse, multicultural perspective and passion for Jewish education and spiritual guidance. Rabbi David was ordained at the Hebrew College Rabbinical School, focused on a multi-denominational approach to Judaism. He has served in communities in New Hampshire, Panama and Los Angeles, where he served at the Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel. He currently serves in the North Shore of Massachusetts, as Rabbi at Temple Sinai as well as being the resident Rabbi at the Eptstein Hillel School.

The rabbi’s vision is to create engaging opportunities for Jews of all venues to express the values of Judaism in every area of their lives, drawing upon from the natural world and the wisdom of the Torah and our conversation with our tradition. Currently kicking off a Teen Beit Midrash, a multi denominational, pluralistic, approach to Torah and tradition. With sources from the Bible to Midrash, from Yiddish literature to the Hasidic tradition, modern Israeli and American Jewish authors. Rabbi David is dedicated to fostering a creative, participatory, and
genuine embrace of Jewish religious learning and living.

This week’s torah portion- Parashat Chukat (Numbers 19:1-22:1)- Features the death of Aaron and Miriam, brother and sister of Moses, and the famous story of Moses striking the stone.

After 40 years of wandering in the desert, the people of Israel arrive at the wilderness of Zin, where Miriam dies and gets buried. As the people become thirsty God tells Moses to order a rock to yield water. After Moses strikes the rock twice, God punishes him by denying him entrance to the land of Israel.  Aaron dies at and is succeeded by his son Elazar who becomes the new High Priest. After the people speak against God and Moses, snakes attack the Israelite camp. God tells Moses to put a brass serpent on a high pole, and says that whoever will gaze at it will be healed. Moses subsequently leads the people in battles against the Emorite kings Sichon and Og and conquers their lands, which lie east of the river Jordan.



Previous Torah Talks on Chukat

Rabbi Sharon Brous

Rabbi Daniel Korobkin

Rabbi Matt Carl

Rabbi Justin Goldstein

Rabbi Alan Green


Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parshat Korach with rabbi Shawn Zevit

Rabbi Shawn Israel Zevit, is the lead rabbi of congregation Mishkan Shalom, in Philadelphia, PA, co-founder and co-director of the Davennen Leader’s Training Institute and is a spiritual director and trainer of Jewish clergy in spiritual direction for the ALEPH Hashpa’ah (Spiritual Direction) program. He is also a recording and performing artist  with six original CDs and has been an organizer for over thirty years of men’s programming and retreats, and is the author of  “Offerings of the Heart: Money and Values in Faith Community” and numerous publications.

This week’s Torah Portion – Parashat Korach (Numbers 16:1-18:32) – tells the dramatic story of a mutiny incited by Korach against the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Korach is joined by Datan and Aviram as well as by 250 distinguished members of the community who offer incense to prove they are worthy of the priesthood. The earth opens up and swallows the mutineers, and a fire kills the incense offerers. Aaron subsequently stops a plague by offering incense of his own and his staff then brings forth almonds, proving that his designation as high priest is divinely ordained. Our discussion focuses on the purge of Korach’s followers and on Moses and Aaron’s reaction to the episode.



Previous Torah Talks on Korach

Rabbi Daniel Nevins

Rabbi Susan Silverman

Rabbi Rachel Bregman

Rabbi Joshua Katzan

Rabbi Raysh Weiss


Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parshat Shelach with rabbi Benji Stanley

Our guest this week is rabbi Benji Stanley, the Rabbi of Westminster Synagogue, an independent shul in the middle of London. He is passionate about getting  stuck into texts and has taught and helped to build the Limmud Bet Midrash, Open Talmud Project, Kehilat Kentish, and Willesden Minyan. He is married to Rabbi Leah Jordan.

This week’s Torah Portion- Parashat Shelach (Numbers 13:1- 15:41)- features the famous story of the twelve spies sent to examine the land of Canaan. It tells about how the people of Israel cry and grumble against Moses and Aaron, asking to go back to Egypt, and about God’s declaration that they will spend 40 years in the wilderness. The parasha ends with a set of commandments concerning offerings to God and with a curious story about a man who is stoned for picking up sticks on Shabbat. Our discussion focuses on the character of Joshua as a model for leadership development and as an example of our ability to change and improve ourselves.



Previous Torah Talks on this parsha:

Rabbi Michael Melchior

Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz

Rabbi Debra Newman Kamin

Rabbi Shana Mackler

Rabbi Marci Bellows


Torah Talk: Parashat Behaalotcha with Rabbi Jack Romberg

Rabbi Jack Romberg has served the congregation of Temple Israel in Tallahassee since July of 2001.  Being a rabbi is his second career.  Rabbi Romberg led his family’s furniture manufacturing business for almost three 18 years.  He entered Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion at age 42.  He was ordained in NYC in May of 2001.  In Tallahassee Rabbi Romberg has led many programs and initiatives.  He is currently serving as the chair of The Village Square, a nationally recognized organization that creates civil conversations, both politically and religiously.  One program he created is Faith, Food and Friday, a monthly discussion with a panel of 5 clergy on current issues.  His biggest pride, however, is in his 3 grandchildren ages 9, 7 and 4.  And other than Judaism, his greatest passion is being a Philadelphia sports fan, especially of the Eagles and Phillies.
This week’s Torah Portion – Parashat Beha’alotcha (Numbers 8:1-12:15) – begins with the lighting of the menorah and then goes on to describe the cleansing of the Levites and the first celebration of Passover in the desert. The Torah subsequently describes a series of bitter complaints made by the people of Israel about life in the desert, and the portion concludes with Moses’ sister Miriam speaking slander about Moses to their brother Aaron and getting punished for it with a terrible skin disease. Our discussion focuses on the family of Moses and on Miriam’s curious punishment.


Previous Torah Talk on Behaalotcha:

Rabbi Charyl Jacobs

Rabbi Jonathan Case

Rabbi Rick Winer

Rabbi Irwin Kula

Rabbi Adam Chalom



Rosner’s Torah Talk: Bamidbar with Rabbi Yehuda Ferris

Today we discuss Parshat Bamidbar with Rabbi Yehuda Ferris, of Chabad in Berkeley, California.

This Week’s Torah Portion – Parashat Bamidbar (Numbers 1:1-4:20) – is the first portion read from the book of Numbers. The Parasha tells us about an elaborate census of the tribes of Israel conducted by Moses in the desert and continues to discuss the priests’ ceremonial duties. Our discussion focuses on the meaning behind the counting of the people of Israel and on their long, gruelling transformation from slaves to a nation of priests.



Previous Talks on Bamidbar:

Rabbi Eric Yoffie

Rabbi Andrea London

Rabbi David Ackerman

Rabbi Amy Bernstein






Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Parashat Achrei-Mot Kedoshim with Rabbi Elyssa Joy Austerklein

Rabbi Elyssa Joy Austerklein serves as senior rabbi of Beth El Congregation in Akron, Ohio. She is a graduate of Brandeis University, BU School of Theology, and the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College. She is an artist, yogi, Rabbis Without Borders Fellow, and was named one of America’s 33 most inspiring rabbis of 2015 by The Forward. She is a devoted wife and mother.

We read two parshas this week. Parashat Acharei Mot (Leviticus 16:1-18:30) – describes the Tabernacle ceremony of the Day of Atonement, establishes general rules for sacrifice and sanctuary, and lays down specific laws about sexual relationships. Our discussion focuses on the curious practice of sending a goat to ‘Azazel’ on Yom Kippur as part of the process of atonement.

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.


Previous Torah Talks on Achrei Mot and Kedoshim

Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Rabbi Laurence Bazer

Rabbi Ilan Glazer

Rabbi Elie Abadie

Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky

Rabbi Joel Mosbacher

Rabbi Matthew Soffer


Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parashat Tazria-Metzora with Rabbi Alan Bright

Our guest this week is Rabbi Alan W. Bright of Shaare Zedek Congregation in Montreal. He completed his education doing Jewish Studies from London School of Jewish Studies (London) and Concordia University. He was also at the Yemin Orde and became an active member of this Youth Village.

This week’s double parashah – Parashat Tazria-Metzora (Leviticus 12:1-15:33) – features rules concerning the purity and impurity of women and the horrible disease of leprosy. Our discussion focuses on the priests’ curious attitude toward people inflicted with skin disease.



Previous Torah Talks on Tazria and Metzora:

Rabbi Elie Weinstock

Rabbi Joshua Aaronson

Rabbi Hillel Skolnik

Rabbi Jonathan Aaron

Rabbi Sheldon Lewis


Torah Talk: Parshat Shemini with Rabbi Claudio Kupchik

Rabbi Claudio Kupchik became the Senior Rabbi of Temple Beth El of Cedarhurst in 2017.

Kupchik was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. While completing medical studies at the University of Buenos Aires Medical School, he determined that Jewish studies and serving the Jewish people was truly his calling and his first love. He studied at the Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano in Buenos Aires, the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical School in Latin America, where he was ordained in 1990. Upon coming to the US, he continued his studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary in NY achieving an MA in Talmud and Rabbinics. Rabbi Kupchik resides in Woodmere with his wife Ann-Rebecca Laschever. They have two boys, Jacob and Simon.

In parshat Shemini: Following the seven days of their inauguration, Aaron and his sons begin to officiate as kohanim (priests). Aaron’s two elder sons, Nadav and Avihu, offer a “strange fire before G‑d” and die. Aaron is silent in face of his tragedy. G‑d commands the kosher laws, identifying the animal species permissible and forbidden for consumption. Also in Shemini are some of the laws of ritual purity.

Previous talk on Parshat Shemini:

Rabbi Gordon Tucker

Rabbi Ahud Sela

Rabbi Andrew Paley

Rabbi Daniel Fellman









Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Passover with Rabbi David Kay

Rabbi David Kay was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTSA) in 2002, where he also received a Master of Arts degree in education. Rabbi Kay serves Congregation Ohev Shalom in Maitland, FL. Founded in 1918, Ohev Shalom is central Florida’s original and oldest continuing Jewish congregation. He also serves on the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando. He is a member of the Mayor Buddy Dyer’s Council of Clergy and the Executive Committee of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida, for which he coordinates Orlando’s annual interfaith celebration of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King.

Our discussion focuses on the Torah reading for Passover.


Previous Torah Talks for Passover included:

Rabbi Joel Levy

Rabbi Eliyahu Fink

Rabbi Debra Orenstein






Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parashat Ki Tisa with with Rabbi David Kosak

David Kosak of Congregation Neveh Shalom in Portland Oregon is a 30th generation rabbi, but his path to the rabbinate had its own plot twists. His first career as a chef and entrepreneur brought him out West from his native New York, where he had earned a BA in Philosophy from NYU.  His formal education includes an MA in Rabbinics from the American Jewish University (formerly the University of Judaism).  David pursued advanced studies at Mechon Schechter, Hebrew University, Yakar Torah Center for Tradition and Creativity, and the Hartman Institute, all in Jerusalem.  He received his Rabbinic Ordination in 2006 from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Bel Air, California. His post-ordination studies include a stint as a STAR fellow and advanced courses on areas of Jewish law such as Gittin (Jewish divorce) and industrial kashrut.

This Week’s Torah Portion – Parashat Ki Tisa (Exodus 30:11-34:35) – begins with the census of the people of Israel and with further instructions concerning the Tabernacle and the Shabbat. The portion then proceeds to tell the story of the Golden Calf, Moses’ plea to god, the splitting of the Tablets into two, and the giving of the second tablets. Our discussion focuses, among other things, on the reason behind the people of Israel’s discontent and on the possible role of Moses’ leadership in their sin.


More Rosner Torah Talks on Ki Tisa:

Rabbi Rachel Ain

Rabbi Gabe Greenberg

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Rabbi Charles Arian




Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parashat Tetzaveh with Rabbi Fred Morgan

Rabbi Fred Morgan AM has lived in the United States, England and Australia.  He was Lecturer in the Religions of India at the University of Bristol before entering the Leo Baeck College, London, where he received rabbinic s’mikhah in 1984.  He has served congregations in Britain, Hungary and Australasia.  In 2013, he was made Emeritus at Temple Beth Israel in Melbourne, Australia’s flagship Progressive synagogue, after 16 years as Senior Rabbi.  Since then Rabbi Morgan has been Professorial Fellow at the Australian Catholic University, coordinator of the Grass Roots Dialogue Project for the Council of Christians and Jews in Victoria, and Movement Rabbi for the Union for Progressive Judaism in Australia, New Zealand, and Asia.  He has lectured and published extensively on Jewish and interfaith themes.  In 2014 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his service to the Jewish Community and interfaith dialogue. He is married to Sue and they have three children and a grandchild.

This week’s Torah Portion – Parashat Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10) – continues giving us the instructions concerning the tabernacle, focusing on the role of the priesthood. Our discussion focuses on the relation between the ‘Ner Tamid’ – the perpetual light of the Temple – and the elaborate description of the clothing of the priests.

Other talks on Parshat Tetzaveh:

Rabbi Gil Steinlauf

Rabbi Peter Stein

Rabbi Alvan Kaunfer






Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parashat Trumah with Rabbi Jason Strauss

Rabbi Jason Strauss is the rabbi of Congregation Kadimah-Toras Moshe in Brighton, MA and a Judaic Studies teacher at Maimonides School in Brookline, MA.

Rabbi Strauss studied for rabbinical ordination at Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. He completed his masters degree in education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2013 and his bachelors degree in engineering at Columbia University in 2011. Before that, he spent a year studying at Yeshivat Shaalvim in Israel.

This week’s Torah portion – Parashat Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19) – is largely dedicated to the detailed instructions for the building of the holy Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant. Our discussion focuses on the somewhat confusing idea of the divine command to be voluntary generous.

Previous Torah Talks on Parshat Trumah:

Rabbi Jason Miller

Rabbi Carl Perkins

Rabbi Michael Boyden

Rabbi Dov Asher