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People in My Neighborhood: Chaim and Dina

December 2011 I spoke to Dina the other day. She was having a hard time dealing with the recent anniversary of her daughter’s death. She told me that before the actual day, things are always busy with planning the yearly memorial service, so emotions are held in check. But afterwards, she finds herself left to […]

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Reflections on Sukkot

October 2011 I found myself daydreaming last night while washing the dishes from dinner. My sink looks out onto our porch where our Feast of Tabernacle booth, our Sukka, stands, slightly darkening the kitchen. The Feast of Tabernacles is one of my favorite Jewish holidays. Maybe because it comes on the heels of the High […]

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Reflections on The Pesach (Passover) Service

March 2010   In just two weeks, Jews from all over the world will be sitting down to the Pesach Seder, the festive meal that opens the Passover holiday. It is a culmination of weeks of preparation and anticipation. Everyone—young and old, religiously observant and secular—sits down at their holiday table, whether at a communal […]

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Tezave (You Shall Command) – Exodus 27:20 – 30:10

This week’s portion begins with the end of Exodus chapter 27 and includes the instructions for Aaron and their priests in their worship roles — their clothes, the sanctification process they will go through, and some instruction regarding the altar, the incense altar and the “tent of meeting.” It is the instruction with regard to this “tent” that I would like to focus on this week.

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Trumah (Offering) – Exodus 25:1 – 27:19

G-d does not need our worship. He does not need for us to build Him a house. G-d wants us to build that house so that it can be an effective tool for us to come close to G-d. May we never lose our ability to distinguish between the medium and the ultimate goal, between the vehicles of our faith and faith itself.

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Mishpatim (Laws) – Exodus 21:1 – 24:18

This week’s portion begins with Chapter 21 of the Book of Exodus. It is a portion full of laws, pertaining primarily to the ethical standards of behavior that a Jew must follow, but which actually form the basis of so much of what has become known as Judeo-Christian law and ethics.

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Yitro (Jethro) – Exodus 18:1 – 20:23

This week’s portion begins with Jethro’s historic visit to the Children of Israel in the desert. The story begins in Exodus Chapter 18: “And Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’s father-in-law, heard of all that G-d did to Moses and to his nation Israel, that He brought Israel out of Egypt.”

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Oktober 2011

Oktober 2011   Een vlugge blik op de meest recente gebeurtenissen in het Midden-Oosten laat zien dat de Palestijnse acties in de VN waarschijnlijk de minste problemen voor ons zijn. De zogenaamde Arabische lente, uitgebroken in de afgelopen winter, sleepte Arabische volken in Noord Afrika en het Midden Oosten mee in een roep om grotere […]

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Beshalach (As He Sent) – Exodus 13:17 – 17:16

This week’s portion tells the story of the parting of the Red Sea, the culmination of the Exodus from Egypt, and includes the Song of Moses (and the shorter Song of Miriam). Grand events happen in this week’s Torah reading and it is, indeed, an awe- inspiring few chapters.

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Vayechi (And He (Jacob) Lived) – Genesis 47:28 – 50:26

This week we read the final chapters of Genesis. Jacob is approaching the end of his life. We are told that he lived until the age of 147 and that he spent the last 17 years of his life in Egypt. Just before his death, he blesses his grandchildren, Ephraim and Menashe, and then blesses each of his sons.

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