The Torah parshah Ki Teitzei, Deutornomy 21:10 to 25:19, contains 74 of the 613 commandments/mitzvot found in the Torah. These mitzvot cover a wide range of topics and concerns. For example, there are mitzvot about how to sow and harvest… Read More ›
Our visit to Poland coincides with the Feast of the Assumption, a time when tens of thousands of pilgrims arrive on foot to pay homage to Our Lady of Częstochowa, Poland’s Black Madonna. I too am a pilgrim, visiting the sites, not of miracles but of martyrdom. As I make my way through what Pope John Paul II called “this Golgotha of modern times,” I am overcome; like him, I “am here kneeling down” to implore Our Lady to help us heal the vast, still open wound that is our life on this earth.
Va’etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11) gives us pause for thought in its contradictions. First, the parshah (Torah portion) contains the aseret hadibrot (Ten Commandments), among which is: you shouldn’t murder (5:17). Then, pasukim (verses) 6:4-5 contain the shema (Hear O Israel! The… Read More ›
For by my side you put on many wreaths of roses and garlands of flowers around your soft neck and with precious and royal perfume you anointed yourself. On soft beds you satisfied your passion. And there… Read More ›
This week’s Torah parshah is Behaalotecha: Numbers 8:1 to 12:16. By now, much of what comes to pass should sound familiar. The parshah starts with another discussion of leadership and the priesthood. It then prescribes a second Pesach for those… Read More ›
Every year when the cherries, pears, plums, and apple trees begin to bloom, I go out walking. I look for every spot in my vicinity where white and pink blossoms are blooming in exquisite profusion like foam on an ocean…. Read More ›
Although Goddess traditions invite us to embrace a world of immanence and change, rather than to seek to escape into transcendence—which some yoga teachings seem to point toward—I have come to believe that the “still point,” is, as Eliot writes, where “the dance is.” In other words, daily practice might grant us the capacity to always move through the world with grace and joy. The mind will be steady as it encounters and embraces the turning world. We will be whole.
Passover is a holiday of remembrance, of ritual re-enactment: this, we say, is what our ancestors experienced. This is what they felt and knew, what they tasted in their blood. The movement from slavery to liberation, from the soul’s winter to spring. We must never forget, we say, we must always remember, be thankful for our freedom, never take it for granted. “In each generation,” the Haggadah enjoins, “we should feel as if we personally had come out of Egypt.”
In “Time Telling in Feminist Theory,” Rita Felski suggests that there are four main ways feminists discuss and use time: redemption, regression, repetition and rupture. They are aptly named as they behave similar to their labels. Redemption is the linear… Read More ›
This week’s Torah portion is Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1 – 5:26). Vayikra is essentially one long discourse on animal sacrifice with an occasional grain or oil offering included. This killing of animals, their subsequent burning and the shared eating of their… Read More ›
Almost every day, I walk in Central Park. There are certain trees there I’ve come to know: the gnarled cherry trees by the reservoir, the bending willows and tall bald cypress by the pond, the sycamores that drop their bark… Read More ›
The parshah for next week is Beshalach (Exodus 13:17 – 17:16). There are a lot of very important events happening in just four chapters. In fact, one could write a blog on any one of the following topics: the Israelite… Read More ›
Parshah Vayigash covers Genesis 44:18 to 47:27. It involves the reunification of Joseph with his brothers and his father, the immigration of Jacob’s entire family to Egypt and Joseph successfully leading Egypt through famine. In other words, the parshah provides… Read More ›
This parshah contains the account of Jacob’s marriages to Leah and Rachel, (who happen to be his cousins) as well as the birth of his 11 sons and one daughter. It describes the long amounts of time Jacob worked for… Read More ›
In the book, Women v. Religion: The Case Against Faith and for Freedom, editor Karen L. Garst puts together the voices of women from a variety of backgrounds in an effort to present a case against faith. While the introduction… Read More ›
The Torah parshah for this week (to be read on 15 September) is Vayelech (Devarim/Deut. 31:1 – 30). September 15th is also Shabbat Shuvah (return), the Shabbat that falls between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It is the time of… Read More ›
What does it mean to be an Arab-Jew in the twenty-first century? For me, it means recognizing and honoring Arab culture: the music, food, language, and customs my parents brought with them when they emigrated from Cairo in 1952; it means feeling a strong bond with other Egyptians, North Africans, and Middle Easterners, refusing efforts in the U.S. and elsewhere to demonize and “other” any of us. It means respecting the claims of displaced Palestinians and protesting Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. It also means not seeking to equate our displacement with Palestinian displacement, as some Jews from Arab countries have sought to do, in a transparent effort to discredit Palestinian suffering.
A Silhouette of a Woman, the Menorah, and a Pillar of Light: Discovering the Origins of the Goddess in Judaism by Alaya A. Dannu
2.24.2017 During a meditation before bed, I saw an image of a candelabra similar to what Jewish people use for Hanukkah. It was yellow/gold in color, engraved/etched onto a surface. All at once I saw the imagery of a star,… Read More ›
Sometimes, being overwhelmed with guilt makes one unable to act. Other times, guilt manipulates and attempts to control. It might offer a sense of responsibility and concern. More often than not, guilt comes bundled in small doses of should-haves and… Read More ›
For over ten years, I’ve been teaching a work of early Jewish mysticism known as Sefer Yetzirah, or the Book of Creation. There are widely differing opinions on the book’s origin and dating, but many scholars date it to the… Read More ›
A number of years ago, I had the opportunity to take a class with Chava Weissler, a scholar at Lehigh University who studies Jewish history, community, and sacred practices– particularly those practices related to women. My fellow students in the… Read More ›
In ancient times, Pesach was one of three pilgrimage holidays, the others being Sukkot and Shavuot. According to the the Torah, Israelite men were required to travel to Jerusalem to bring offerings to the temple. Supposedly, this reconnected these Israelites… Read More ›
Queen Esther An orphan child, who became a well respected queen, Esther, the Queen of Persia, was a woman of integrity, Wisdom and courage, a beautiful woman, truly supreme, favored by God, She had a awareness of dependability, steady strong,… Read More ›
The Book of Esther tells a story in which women’s power is not so much repressed as asserted. The king who banishes one queen finds himself submitting to the will of another. Numerous women writers of various ethnic, religious, and racial backgrounds in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries have found inspiration in the stories of both Esther and Vashti’s disobedience to an autocratic king.