Inside Outside, Upside Down

Headshot of Rabbi Cheryl Peretz
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by Rabbi Cheryl Peretz
posted on February 24, 2021
Purim is our annual Jewish carnival, a day of overflowing silliness and celebration. We dress up in costumes, make fun of ourselves, and laugh and revel as we recount the story of Haman, Mordechai, Queen Esther, and King Achashverosh. There really is no limit to how much we can sing, dance, and laugh - all in an effort to celebrate with intense joy and merriment. And, in perhaps one of the greatest acts of silliness, the debate about the role of getting drunk ensues throughout the generations of Jewish literature and Jewish communities. Read more...

Self-Evident Truths

Rabbi Bradley Artson
by Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson
posted on February 11, 2021
On this Presidents’ Day celebration, can we admit the gap between our professed ideals and the grimy, bloody reality with which we live? Only then, I think, does our observance of the remembrance rise to be worthy of a free and democratic people. Without that recognition of the ideals yet to be achieved, we risk elevated military might and economic wealth to nearly-idolatrous levels of veneration.  Read more...

For Every Friend There is a Season - Tu Bishvat Reimagined

Photo of Rabbi Sherre Hirsch
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by Rabbi Sherre Hirsch
posted on January 27, 2021
Recently one of my closest friends from college popped up on my Facebook feed. I liked her status, browsed her pictures, sent her a greeting and continued scrolling. But I could not help thinking how weird it was to see someone who was a huge part of my life in my twenties, now relegated to not much more than a Facebook friend.   It made me wonder, were we truly friends? Or was it just convenience, proximity or something else entirely? Read more...

On the Cusp of Freedom

Photo of Rabbi Morris Panitz
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by Rabbi Morris Panitz
posted on January 14, 2021
Leaving Egypt is a recurring event.  Beyond the individual, who is obligated on Passover to reenact the journey from bondage to liberation, the exodus story became a narrative within which political events have been located and understood.  For numerous and varied movements throughout history, leaving Egypt is the “story [that] made it possible to tell other stories.”[1]  Egypt is removed from the coordinates of space and recast as a system of oppression, all too capable of mutating to meet its unjust asp Read more...

Hanukkah: Rites and Responsibilities

Headshot of Gail Labovitz
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by Rabbi Gail Labovitz, PhD
posted on December 8, 2020
Hanukkah is not a holiday that gets a lot of attention in the earliest rabbinic texts (the Mishnah and its sister text, the Tosefta). It is known as a holiday but only a few of the dos (say Hallel, read Torah) and don’ts (say Musaf, declare a fast day, have excessive wailing at a funeral) are described. The reasons for celebrating Hanukkah are never given, and its most central ritual, the lighting of the Hanukkah lamp, appears only incidentally, in a context that isn’t particularly about Hanukkah at all. Read more...