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Vayikra: Restoring the Fires of Israel



ARZA’s Torah commentary explores connections in the weekly Torah portion to the Land of Israel through the lens of tradition and in our own day. Readers are absolutely encouraged to share this material for weekly Torah classes, conversations, and the Shabbat table, remembering, of course, that “Whoever conveys a teaching in the name of the person […]

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Im Tirtzu: Just Lashon Hara or Worse?



By now, many of us have seen the video. It opens with a horror-film score and a scene of everyday Israeli life. A dark, bearded, sinister man approaches the camera and raises a knife. You, the viewer, are the victim of a terrorist attack. The narration then begins, in the tone of a spy thriller. […]

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Fathers and Sons



The story of the binding of Isaac (the Akeidah) never fails to get inside us because death hangs in every verse. Will the boy die? Will the dad become a mourner? If this drama doesn’t give you chills, you probably aren’t listening. I know we’re supposed to be focusing on Abraham and Isaac, but I […]

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Shavuot: Celebration and Obligation



In just a few days, we will conclude this year’s counting of the Omer with the celebration of Shavuot, the first of our tradition’s three annual pilgrimage festivals, and the one that has come to be associated with the giving of Torah atop Mt.Sinai, as well as with confirmation and post b’nai mitzvah study. The […]

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Extending NFTY’s Tabernacle: A D’var Torah for Parashah T’rumah



by Logan Kramer Over the past three years, NFTY has taken me to plenty of random places. I’ve held events with my temple youth group in public parks, enjoyed extensive layovers in airports across the country, gone to socials at amusement parks, and visited more congregations than I can count. As I’ve traveled to all […]

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10 Years of Ten Minutes of Torah

Unto Zion We Shall Give Torah



By Rabbi Josh Weinberg “All the people gathered themselves together as one man into the broad place that was before the water gate; and they spoke unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the Law of Moses, which Adonai had commanded to Israel. 2 And Ezra the priest brought the Law before the congregation, both […]

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10 Years of Ten Minutes of Torah

URJ Commemorates Ten Years of Ten Minutes of Torah



The Union of Refom Judaism commemorates 10 years of Ten Minutes of Torah, a daily email that is one of the most successful and innovative distance learning initiatives in the Jewish world.  In 2003, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, then URJ president launched Ten Minutes of Torah at the URJ Biennial convention in Minneapolis: Desperate to keep […]

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Sometimes Inclusion Makes Me Nervous



On Yom Kippur morning, an amazing young woman came to our bimah to chant Torah.  She happens to be blind. And while I eagerly anticipated what I knew would be a stunning aliyah, I found myself really nervous. Why would I be nervous?  This should have been a moment of immense pride that the inclusive […]

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Yom Kippur Torah Readings – A Creative Approach



By Rabbi Edwin Goldberg A couple of years ago, the core editorial team1 of the forthcoming Reform High Holy Day prayer book met with Dr. Marc Brettler, a scholar of Bible at Brandeis University.  We wanted to learn from him about possible alternative readings from the Torah on Yom Kippur day.  The traditional reading for the […]

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Torah and Haftarah Readings for Yom Kippur



By Rabbi Richard Sarason On Yom Kippur, the Torah is read in both the morning and afternoon services.  This emulates the traditional reading practice on Shabbat (indeed, Yom Kippur is called shabbat shabbaton in Lev. 23:32 – literally, “a day of complete rest,” but understood homiletically to mean “the most important of Sabbaths”).1 The Mishnah […]

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The Temple Beth David Mosaic: A Reminder to Do Mitzvot



by Jason Marshall In February 2012, Temple Beth David in Spring Hill, Florida, embarked on a mission to develop a piece of art. It would not be just a piece of art, however; it also would embody something with much greater meaning. The Torah tells us that we must not only think about mitzvot (ethical […]

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D’var Torah of Awesome: MC New Orleans Engages With Congregation Gates of Prayer



To quote a piece of text from this week’s portion, “These were the marches of the Israelites who started out from the land of Egypt, troop by troop.” Well, these past two weeks have been our march. Starting out from all over the country, step by step, taking part in tikkun olam.

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Torah in the Cloud



by Pete Bernard Like many other congregations, Temple B’nai Torah in Bellevue, WA, has a diverse group of Torah readers— young and old—who participate regularly in reading the parashah. A strong and varied group of readers is a key part of our community, and we continually strive to introduce this tradition to new members of […]

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Mishkan HaNefesh, Rosh HaShanah Morning and Torah Reading Options



By Rabbi Edwin Goldberg The most traditional texts for the Torah reading on Rosh HaShanah morning are Genesis 21 and Genesis 22. In many congregations that observe two days of the holiday, it is most customary to read 21 on the first day and 22 on the second day. Genesis 21 begins with the notion […]

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