Ki Tisa: Finding Pride in Humility

This parsha, meaning portion, Ki Tisa, translates to the lifting of heads, as in taking a census. It is among the most important and fundamental parshat in the Torah and is quite long. Ki Tisa discusses Moses’s journey up Mount Sinai, the receiving of the Ten Commandments, the creation of the golden calf and Moses […]

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Parsha Mishpatim: Getting Our Shit Together

Parsha Mishpatim is a series of laws for the people of Israel. In Hebrew, Mishpatim means “laws”.It contains 53 mitzvot, 23 imperative commandments, and 30 prohibitions. Mitzva stems from the root tzvata, which means attachment, and refers to creating a bond between G-d and oneself. Most of the commandments are about how to treat slaves, […]

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Parsha Chayei Sarah: Chesed in Brooklyn

This week’s Torah portion, or parsha, is called Chayei Sarah, meaning “the life of Sarah”, is so named because its first few words tell us that Sarah lived 127 years. The Torah portion then proceeds with the story of Sarah and her husband Abraham’s family. One section of the portion tells us that Abraham sent […]

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Parsha Shmini: The Eighth Day

Parshat Shmini, which translates to “portion eight”, covers a dramatic narrative of events, which concludes with what will become the basis of the dietary laws known as kashrut. Following the dedication of the mishkan, or tabernacle, and the ordination of the priests, two of Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu, wait outside the Tent of Appointed […]

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God’s face: Loving-kindness meditation and the Birkat Kohanim (Priests’ Blessing)

I grew up calling it “dukhening”, the Yiddish term. Formally, it’s the Birkat Kohanim, in Hebrew, or Priestly Blessing, in English. I can’t think of any other moment in a synagogue service that feels anything like the Birkat Kohanim. For me as a kid, it was melodramatic and powerful and mysterious and that drama was […]

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tikkun olam-ing

I’ve been reading a lot about Haiti today. In grad school I took a few classes focused on international poverty, and Haiti was always the textbook example of political, social, environmental, and economic turmoil. One day I was waiting for a friend in a cafe and studying water infrastructure in Haiti, completely unable to imagine […]

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Ask JMC

Dear JMC, What is Jewish meditation, anyways? – Wondering in Brooklyn Hi Wondering. Thanks for asking! JMC Brooklyn’s working definition of Jewish meditation is here.  Our definition is purposefully expansive and somewhat vague, because we want the JMC to be as inclusive as possible. Judaism as religion and identity is individual, evolving, and personal, as […]

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G’milut Hasadim (or meditation in action)

Last winter, after learning and meditating on the concept of g’milut hasadim (acts of loving kindness), and reading a lot of old rebbe stories where God or an angel is always dressed as a beggar, I decided to make giving tzedakah (charity) to people who ask part of my practice. It’s difficult and challenging every […]

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