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This week’s portion is called Shoftim, from the first two words of the Parashah, Shoftim VeShotrim meaning “Judges and Officers.” In the narrative, Moses is reminding the Children of Israel to appoint judges and officers, … more
As summer is winding down and we begin to take a heshbon ha-nefesh, an accounting of our souls, in preparation for the approaching High Holy Days, I think that most of us are able to get in touch with a piece of ourselves that feels  … more
Judaism is full of blessings. Traditionally, Jews say blessings before we eat (a different blessing for each category of food). We say blessings after we eat. There is a special blessing to say when one smells a flower. There is a … more
On hot-button issues like same-sex marriage, Americans are used to hearing religious and political leaders make public pronunciations that their position is the one that is endorsed by God. These self-appointed spokesmen and spokeswomen for God are … more
LOS ANGELES (JTA) — On Shavuot, we are reminded that the Torah is a tree of life to which we are to hold fast. But what happens when that hold slips from your grasp? It’s a question I found myself asking six weeks before Shavuot, … more
In this week’s Torah portion, we begin a new book, Ba-midbar – “In the Wilderness” – or as we call it in English, the Book of Numbers. Unlike its companion books in the Pentateuch, the themes and focus of Numbers are relatively … more
“Teach us to count our days rightly, that we may obtain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12   The essence of this verse from Psalms is reflected in countless Jewish blessings and teachings, encouraging movement through life with … more
Come, my children, listen to me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. … more
As the rabbi at Touro Synagogue, I frequently try to link the Jewish holidays to events in the synagogue’s long history. Passover is the holiday that most closely relates to Touro Synagogue. Passover is referred to as our time of freedom. We are … more
In the early years of his tenure as Temple Beth-El’s senior rabbi, William G. Braude was a hands-on activist in the community. Social action on behalf of those suffering social injustice was a core element of his rabbinate. But by the sixties … more
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