Shabbat Shemot: Do you Know your Name?

What makes you cry out? Why has much of the Jewish educational establishment been so concerned about the possibility of Jews joining in the U.S. celebration of Christmas? There are some good reasons.  For many generations of Jewish exile, Christmas was a mortally dangerous time. Hatred of Jews was used throughout medieval Europe as aContinue reading “Shabbat Shemot: Do you Know your Name?”

Shabbat Shemot: Listen and See that All Is One

we have met the enemy and they are us – cartoonist Walt Kellly in the comic strip Pogo What is the cause of uprisings? the seed of violence? what did we see on Wednesday in Washington D.C., and all spring and summer in Portland? Others will turn to political scientists and sociologists; to these sourcesContinue reading “Shabbat Shemot: Listen and See that All Is One”

Shabbat Shemot: A New King Arose Who Did Not Know Joseph

Now there arose a new king who did not know Joseph (Ex.1.8) – These words from the opening of the Book Shemot, Exodus, rise up, an uncanny echo reverberating through history, mocking those of us who think that the Torah is tamed and not so up to date. These are the words that greet usContinue reading “Shabbat Shemot: A New King Arose Who Did Not Know Joseph”

Shabbat Shemot: A World Full of Suffering

We begin reading the Book of Exodus (Shemot, “Names”, in Hebrew) in the Torah this week; in the opening scenes, our ancestors find ourselves in a developing nightmare – and, unlike the dreams of Genesis, we can’t just wake up from it.  At first, all seemed well in our new homes in Egypt. But within theContinue reading “Shabbat Shemot: A World Full of Suffering”

Shabbat Shemot: can you feel your own galut?

Our parashat hashavua (“parashah of the week”) finds us far from home and ancestral memory; we are in Egypt, which seemed like a good idea at the time. But “there arose a king who did not know Joseph” (still a Jewish way to say “things are going to get worse now”), and our comfortable, protected statusContinue reading “Shabbat Shemot: can you feel your own galut?”