Shabbat Toldot: Naming our Transgender Children

Today, Friday November 20, is Transgender Day of Remembrance. During Portland’s observance (last night on the eve of the day) we called the names of those who were murdered in the U.S. during this past year for no reason other than their transgender identity.  We remember them, and mourn the loss of these irreplaceable ImagesContinue reading “Shabbat Toldot: Naming our Transgender Children”

Shabbat Toldot: Trust, Despite Everything

In parashat Toldot we read of the birth of the twins Esau and Jacob, born to Rebekah and Isaac after years of trying to get pregnant, and much frustration and difficulty. The family that is created when the children are safely born seems to thrive: their parents succeed in helping their boys to find forContinue reading “Shabbat Toldot: Trust, Despite Everything”

Rosh HaShanah 5778 – the Shofar’s call: Get Woke

 Shanah Tovah!   Tomorrow we will gather to experience one of the most important spiritual moments of this day that we call Rosh HaShanah, the New Year. That experience is the sounding of the Shofar. Although it may not seem to us to be the ultimate purpose of our sacred gathering, the sounding of theContinue reading “Rosh HaShanah 5778 – the Shofar’s call: Get Woke”

Shabbat Va’Era: How Does G-d Appear To You?

The parashat hashavua, the Torah reading of the week, begins in an entirely perplexing way: ב  וַיְדַבֵּר אֱלֹהִים, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה; וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו, אֲנִי יְהוָה. G-d spoke to Moses, saying to him: ‘I am YHVH; ג  וָאֵרָא, אֶל-אַבְרָהָם אֶל-יִצְחָק וְאֶל-יַעֲקֹב–בְּאֵל שַׁדָּי; וּשְׁמִי יְהוָה, לֹא נוֹדַעְתִּי לָהֶם. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as El Shaddai butContinue reading “Shabbat Va’Era: How Does G-d Appear To You?”

Shabbat Toldot: What Are We Teaching Our Children?

This parashat hashavua couldn’t be more timely (it happens so very often that I can’t help but get a bit mystical about it). This week we read of the birth of twins to Rebekah and Isaac, and of the oracle that Rebekah receives when she asks after their – and her – fate: Two nationsContinue reading “Shabbat Toldot: What Are We Teaching Our Children?”

Shabbat Hayye Sarah: Is the Torah Misogynistic?

This week’s parashah is called Hayye Sarah, “Life of Sarah”. The name is derived from the first verse of the parashah:   וַיִּהְיוּ חַיֵּי שָׂרָה, מֵאָה שָׁנָה וְעֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וְשֶׁבַע שָׁנִים–שְׁנֵי, חַיֵּי שָׂרָה.  “Sarah’s life was 127 years; these were the years of Sarah’s life.” (Gen. 23.1) This, however, is the beginning of what weContinue reading “Shabbat Hayye Sarah: Is the Torah Misogynistic?”

Shabbat Toldot: Digging Down to Rise Up

This week’s parashat hashavua describes the difficulty Isaac encounters in establishing himself in the aftermath of his father’s death. Apparently the locals do not respect him as they did his father.   Isaac dug again the wells of water that were dug in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them up afterContinue reading “Shabbat Toldot: Digging Down to Rise Up”