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Giving is Who We Are

Part of a yearlong Torah series about building and builders in Jewish spiritual life. When I was a kid, I loved watching my grandmother. After each visit to the doctor, when she got good news, she’d put a dollar in the pushkah (tzedakah box). Her joy in that ritual was contagious. I felt so good […]

The Torah of Ikea

  Part of a yearlong Toah series on building and builders in Jewish spiritual life.    I’m a stereotype. Like many people (and especially some men), I have an aversion to following written instructions. I tend to believe that I can figure things out and build things all on my own instinct and intuition. Ikea […]

Building God’s Home Within

  Part of a yearlong Torah series about building and builders in Jewish spiritual life.   I live in a new neighborhood that still is under construction. It had been a neglected golf course, and a developer decided to turn it into houses. My street is an odd assortment of new homes filled with nice […]

Dvarim’s Building Lessons

  Part of a yearlong Torah series on spiritual building and builders in Jewish life.   The book of Deuteronomy begins with a retelling of the story of everything that’s unfolded since the children of Israel left Egypt and began their wilderness wandering. Moshe recounts the last forty years to the children of Israel as […]

Lamentations (Then and Now)

  This responsive reading is intended for congregational use during Tisha b’Av. Most of these words come directly from refugee testimonies (citations below). They have been shaped into the form of a prayer, but have not otherwise been edited in any way. The indented lines are from the book of Eicha / Lamentations.  In reciting […]

Building Gender… So the Neighbors Will Understand

  Part of a yearlong Torah series on spiritual building and builders in Jewish spiritual life. We’re all in the “building” business, but often we don’t think about it. Even when we don’t try, we’re building our world and how we express key aspects of who we are in it. Take gender. Gender is (and always […]

From Tents to Dwellings

  Part of a yearlong Torah series on spiritual building and builders in Jewish life.   Parashat Balak introduces us to two non-Jewish figures: the titular Balak, a Moabite king, and the prophet Balaam. Balak, seeing the children of Israel encamped in his territory, becomes fearful that these strangers will overrun his country. (Echoes of […]

Water and Words

  Part of a yearlong Torah series on spiritual building and builders in Jewish life. Words have power. They have the power to create, and the power to destroy. Think of any human creation, from the Brooklyn Bridge to Harry Potter World: they were all created through words. On the other side of the coin, […]

Taking Pride in the Parade

Part of a yearlong Torah series on spiritual building and builders in Jewish life. Today is the Pride March marking 50 years from Stonewall and the beginning of the modern chapter of the LGBTQ liberation movement. So much has been achieved and still so much is left to do. As rabbis and allies we want […]