Busy Busy Busy: Making Space on the High Holy Days

As the High Holy Days approach and I prepare to join Rabbi Dan Ain and Jeremiah Lockwood for 92Y’s OBSERVE: High Holy Days in Brooklyn services, I’ve been thinking about the Jewish practice of creating spaces for people to gather and reflect. It seems like there’s often no time in the day to really pay […]

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Nitzavim: Listening to the Still, Small Voice Inside

We are one week away from Rosh Hashanah, a time of spiritual reckoning. Our parsha, or Torah portion, this week is Nitzavim, meaning “ones standing.” In the parsha, Moses tells the Israelites that all the people stood before G-d to enter into the covenant. What would it be like to imagine ourselves standing before G-d […]

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Ki Tavo: Breathing Through Struggle

The name of this week’s parsha, or Torah portion, is Ki Tavo, which means “when you enter.” In this parsha, Moses lays out for the Jewish people the rituals they should observe when they enter the Promised Land. The various rituals all have a common theme: honoring the history of the Jewish people, and all that G-d […]

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Shoftim: Finding Clarity in the Fog

This week’s torah portion, or parsha, is called shoftim, Hebrew for “judges.” Before he dies, Moses delivers a final speech to the Israelites, including a review of a justice system with the appointment of judges and law enforcers in every city. He specifies the importance of examining all crimes with careful inquiry, and avoiding bias […]

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Parsha Chukat: Breathing Through Our Patterns

This week’s parsha, or weekly Torah portion, is Chukat, which can be roughly translated as “decree.” In this parsha, the Israelites are still wandering through the desert when the sister of Aaron and Moses, Miriam, suddenly passes away. In the waterless desert in the aftermath of Miriam’s death, the Israelites struggle to survive, and G-d instructs […]

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Shelach Lechah: Taking a Break to Breathe

This week’s Torah portion, or parsha, is called “Shelach Lechah,” meaning “send for yourself.” The Torah had just been given to the Israelites at the foot of Mt. Sinai as a gift from G-d on the high holy day of Shavuot. They now want to claim their Promised Land, so Moses sends twelve “spies” to […]

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Parsha Naso: How Am I Different?

This week’s Torah portion, or parsha, is Naso, which means “take up” and refers to taking a census of the Gershonites, a clan of the Israelite tribe of Levi, who will be responsible for certain tasks in the Tabernacle, the sanctuary they can pack up and carry along with them. In our parsha, there is […]

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Nothing Belongs To Us

Parsha Behar-Bechukotai has two sections. The first, Behar, deals primarily with the rules and regulations pertaining to the land of Israel. We read of the sabbatical (Shmitta) years, in which the land was to lie fallow one out of every seven years, and relate this to observing Shabbat each week. We also read that there […]

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Parsha B’har: Breathing Before We Speak

Parsha B’har, the Torah portion translating to “On The Mounstain,” covers a dramatic narrative of behavior for the Israelites regarding the aspects of the Shmitah year, or the fallow time after seven years of farming. The land must be given a ‘Sabbath,’ just as we must observe Sabbath every seventh day. This parsha also outlines […]

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Kedoshim: How To Be Holy

Hello, holy ones. This week’s Torah portion, kedoshim, is translated as “holy ones.” But how does it feel to be addressed as holy ones? Does a part of you say “I’m not holy”? Or does a part of you say, “Hey, she’s not holy.” Or do you think “What does being holy even mean?” This […]

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