What Makes for a Holy Rebellion

Photo of Rabbi Ben Richards
by Rabbi Ben Richards
posted on July 1, 2022
If one had to briefly describe the Fourth of July, they might say that it is a holiday commemorating a rebellion by America against their British ruling power. In acquiring this independence, America was able to forge a land open to diverse views and population groups, something we commemorate on Independence Day (also known as the Fourth of July). It is interesting that this year, as we approach the Fourth of July, we find that it directly follows parshat Korach. Read more...

Reclaiming Authentic Welcome

Headshot of Rabbi Adam Greenwald
by Rabbi Adam Greenwald
posted on June 2, 2022
It is often the case that the things that "everybody" knows to be true – aren't. Marie Antoinette never said: "Let them eat cake." Vincent Van Gogh did not cut off his ear to impress a lover. And, despite what my well-meaning mother told me, swallowed gum doesn't sit in your stomach for seven years, and if you make a funny face there is absolutely no chance of it sticking that way. There are lots of similarly popular myths about Jewish law: Read more...

Holidays of Memory: Holding the Past in the Present

Photo of Rabbi Ben Richards
by Rabbi Ben Richards
posted on May 27, 2022
Growing up in a relatively patriotic family in America, I had the experience of partaking in various American rituals and practices throughout the year: watching fireworks while eating pudding on the Fourth of July, seeing military heroes march in parades, and ceasing from the vast amounts of labor expected of me from a very young age (kidding). Every time we would celebrate these holidays, we would do it with joy and fanfare. Our focus was about the new, the changes, and the revolutions, centered on what was to come. Read more...

Lag B'Omer - R E S P E C T !

Headshot of Gail Labovitz
by Rabbi Gail Labovitz, PhD
posted on May 18, 2022
Lag baOmer, the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer (which falls on the 18th of the Hebrew month of Iyar), is a strange, somewhat mysterious minor festival on the Jewish calendar. The counting of the Omer itself is a biblical commandment, mentioned in both Lev. 23:15-16 and Deut. 16:9: 49 days from when the first of the barley crop (the earliest ripening crop in the Land of Israel) is harvested, at the time of Passover, and culminating in the holiday of Shavuot on the 50th day. But there is no mention of any one day of the count being more significant than another. Read more...