For Every Friend There is a Season - Tu Bishvat Reimagined

Photo of Rabbi Sherre Hirsch
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
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
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...

Judaism and War

Headshot of Elliot Dorff
by Rabbi Elliot Dorff, PhD
posted on November 12, 2020
A season is set for everything, a time for every experience under heaven:          A time for being born and a time for dying, …          A time for slaying and a time for healing, …          A time for loving and a time for hating,          A time for war and a time for peace.                                              (Ecclesiastes 3:1‑8) Read more...

Starting Again on Blursday

Headshot of Gail Labovitz
by Rabbi Gail Labovitz, PhD
posted on October 7, 2020
The last time I attended a Torah reading at my synagogue was the Shabbat of March 14, parashat Ki Tissa, in the latter part of Exodus. By Monday, Los Angeles was under lockdown and the American Jewish University took classes on-line. Read more...