Weekly Parsha

Being a Chief Listener

In my first job out of rabbinical school, I served as an assistant rabbi of a congregation of over 1000 families. As many new rabbis experience, I felt I should know everything and was embarrassed that I didn’t. On bigger points about the direction of synagogue programs, I guessed. I tried to create new things and make changes, but it didn’t feel like enough people heard or were inspired by my vision. This week’s Torah portion contains a story embedded in most Jews’ memories from years of Passover seders: the 10 plagues.......

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"Birah Doleket"

Monday night, I saw Ani DiFranco in concert. For those of you who don’t have lyrics from “If He Tries Anything” as your yearbook quote, she’s a folk rock singer-songwriter whose powerful lyrics about feminism, abortion rights, and fighting oppression have buoyed many Gen X and elder Millennial feminists. She was like a beloved older cousin who taught me that being fierce, feminist, and angry were a-okay – and, in fact, that anger was an appropriate response to the world around me. The last time I saw her live was in 2004......

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Sukkot and a New Ecosystem of Jewish Leadership

A teaching from Sukkot merits our attention. Amid the building of huts and the welcoming of guests, the gathering of four different flora offers a powerful image about Jewish community and its leadership today. Those who have shaken the Lulav and Etrog may remember the four species of plant celebrated during the harvest holiday: etrog, palm, myrtle, and willow. Each one is of symbolic significance, notably about the kinds of people who reside within Israel. According to the Midrashic commentary, Vayikra Rabbah, the etrog holds both flavor and scent, symbolically pointing to the......

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