Passover and Yom Hashoah The Ethical Imperative of Remembrance

Photo of Michael Berenbaum
by Dr. Michael Berenbaum
posted on April 20, 2020
No sooner have we finished Passover and Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, is upon us.  The juxtaposition is startling. Passover celebrates liberation, the passage from slavery onto freedom, from Egypt to the Promised Land.  And the Holocaust is the anti-Exodus, the passage from freedom – albeit not without discrimination and difficulty – to slavery and soon thereafter, to annihilation. Read more...

Present in the Absence

Headshot of Rabbi Cheryl Peretz
by Rabbi Cheryl Peretz
posted on March 11, 2020
Today we celebrate the holiday of Purim. A time of prizes, noisemakers, costumes and treats, Purim invites us to celebrate the absurd and laugh at ourselves. As we read the story from the Purim Megillah (scroll), we drown out the name of Haman, the evil man of Sushan who sought to destroy the Jewish people. Dressing in costume, eating the three cornered hamentaschen cookies, making noise, and celebrating beyond comprehension all draw our attention to the fun and frivolity of the day. And, of all of our holidays, it is about Read more...

Produce and Potential

Headshot of Gail Labovitz
by Rabbi Gail Labovitz, PhD
posted on February 7, 2020
Tu Bishvat (the 15th of the month of Shevat) is first mentioned in early rabbinic tradition, as a “new year” for trees – or more accurately, fruit and nut-bearing trees. In fact, according to the Mishnah, in Rosh haShanah 1:1, trees may have two separate new years. One of these is on the first of Tishrei to mark the age of the tree (that is, no matter what date a tree was planted or replanted, it becomes a year older on the first of Tishrei; this is important because according to Lev. 19:23-25 one may not eat of the fruit of a newly planted tree for four years). Read more...