Weekly Parsha


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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God, Our Mother Eagle

Bald eagles are everywhere in my Pacific Northwest region. On my street, brave eagles try (unsuccessfully) to eat baby crows. Just across the river, eagle couples nest in the high trees. In winter, migratory eagles feast on dying salmon. In summer, resident eagles party at the landfill. Still, I never get tired of eagles. When I see one soar, my own soul soars. My mood lifts, and I feel a hint of God’s presence. The Torah ends and begins with the image of God as an eagle. It’s there in Moses’ last......

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How Long-Term Should Our Vision Be?

Recently, California announced that it will not sell gasoline-based cars starting in 2035. Like many political decisions surrounding climate change, it’s a decision that looks to help those that will come decades or centuries from now. So naturally, there is some pushback. Part of the reason addressing climate change is so hard is that we humans tend to focus on the challenges that are right in front of us, both physically and temporally – when real people are in danger or in need (or, to be honest, even just “in want”) right......

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Fear, Confidence, and Competence

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been having a repeated conversation with our almost seven-year-old surrounding the waterslide at our town pool. He’s naturally a bit anxious and nervous (which he certainly gets from his parents), and while my wife and daughter love going down the slide, he has yet to do it. He wants to, in theory, but every time he gets to the top, he walks back down. Fear can be a powerful motivator, but most of the time, it’s a paralyzing force. It’s not just an emotion, it’s also......

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