Parsha Metzora: finding community in silence

This parsha, portion, Metzora, the one who suffers tzara’at, skin afflictions, is a difficult parsha for me. I needed to find a meaningful approach to the rules of separation from the community by those with skin afflictions, usually translated as leprosy. I started to try to find a hidden meaning in the rules of separation, […]

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Bereshit: When “Good” Really is “Good Enough”

Bereshit, meaning “In the Beginning,” is the very first chapter of the Torah, and is chock full of some of the most famous stories in the Bible — maybe even the world. We start with the creation of the universe, Earth, and everything on it (seas, land, plant, animals, humans). From there, we read about […]

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Parsha Va’era

This week’s parsha, or weekly Torah portion, Va’era, is the second parsha in Exodus, the book detailing the Israelites’ exodus from slavery under Pharaoh to freedom. “Va’era” means “I appeared” or “I let Myself be seen.”  God says “Va’era” to Moses, as in, “I let Myself be seen by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” and by this, God means something […]

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Making solo space within — Parsha Tazria

This week’s Torah portion, Tazria, explains that during specific periods in a person’s life, she or he must spend time in physical seclusion, truly alone, in order to return physically and spiritually to a balanced state of being; once a person returns to this place of balance, she is then ready to return to the […]

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Kosher on the inside – Parsha Sh’mini

This week’s Torah portion, Sh’mini, begins on the eighth day of the consecration of the tabernacle (or mishkan) which is the traveling dwelling place for God’s presence. Moses summons Aaron, his sons, and the elders of Israel and instructs them on the varied offerings they will be bringing before God with the hope of God […]

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Having a Conversation with the Universe – Parsha Tzav

The parsha deals with the offerings and sacrifices that G-d has deemed necessary for Aaron and his sons to become holy and prove their worth as priests to the Israelites. Moses receives and delivers the message of G-d, an intermediary.  When Moses was born and cast into the Nile, he was retrieved by Pharaoh’s daughter […]

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Integration over Oatmeal

A few weeks ago, I was at the Garrison Institute for the Awakened Heart Project and Institute for Jewish Spirituality Jewish Mindfulness Teacher Training Program’s first retreat. After a week of teachings, practice, and silence, we were going to have a “talking breakfast.” We were told that another group was beginning a conference at the […]

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What Happened at Sinai? Some Thoughts on Shavuot.

Last night Rabbi Ellen Lippman led a beautiful teaching on “What Happened at Sinai?” I’ve heard the idea before that everyone who has and will ever exist were there for the receiving of the Torah, revelation, “Rabbi Isaac said: At Mount Sinai the prophets of each and every generation received what they were to prophesy… […]

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Taking Up Space

It can be hard to realize what space each of us takes up. We live in finite spaces, grow accustomed to the shape of our clothes on our bodies, the way we fill a chair, how we sleep (with a cat curled into the side of my face, and one arm under the pillow, fingers […]

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Fear, vulnerability, a room full of seventh graders

Last night a room full of seventh graders sat silently, followed their breath, contemplated the Sh’ma, practiced listening, and asked lots of insightful and deep questions. Usually these classes are small- five to ten students, but last night the entire 7th grade class decided they wanted to learn Jewish meditation. I tried to get half […]

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