A Progressive Jewish Congregation in Portland, Oregon
Shir Tikvah Office: 503-473-8227

Rabbi’s Shabbat Message

Rabbi Ariel’s Shabbat message is delivered to the congregation in our weekly e-newsletter. You can also use the links below to visit the Rabbi’s blog, Torah for the 21st Century.

Torah for the 21st Century

This too is Torah, and I need to learn it

Upon receiving the Emily Georges Gottfried 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Human Rights Commission of the City of Portland. 

Posted: December 7, 2018, 10:02 pm
A parable from Hasidic Judaism: Once upon a time, the king’s star gazer saw that the grain harvested that year was tainted. Anyone who would eat from it would go mad. “What can we do?” said the king. “It is not possible to destroy the crop, for we do not have enough grain stored to … Continue reading

Shabbat VaYeshev: Minority Status

Posted: November 30, 2018, 10:41 pm
Hanukkah begins on Sunday December 2 at sundown. We always find it in proximity to the parashat hashavua which we study this week, VaYeshev. The word means “he returned” but we might also read it as “here we go again.” One month after the massacre of our fellow Jews joined in Shabbat prayer in Pittsburgh, … Continue reading

Transgender Day of Remembrance: Reflection and Prayer

Posted: November 19, 2018, 10:08 pm
The first independent human act, we are told, was a crossing over of a boundary: from obedience to curiosity, from Eden to the world.  Human life has been marked by transition ever since: from childhood to adulthood, from ignorance to knowing, from solitude to community. My community, the Jewish people, was a tribe that passed … Continue reading

Shabbat VaYetze: Can You See It?

Posted: November 16, 2018, 9:53 pm
Our ancestor Ya’akov, or Jacob as he is called in English, is the most fully developed, most flawed, most human character of all the Matriarchs and Patriarchs of Jewish tradition. Named, basically, for the word “heel” in Hebrew because he was born holding his twin brother Esau’s heel, he acts the part throughout his youth. Just … Continue reading

Shabbat Hayye Sarah: Make It Holy

Posted: November 2, 2018, 5:27 pm
On this Shabbat we will do what we always do, and what Jews in all times and circumstances have done: we will carry on with that which makes our lives meaningful. We will celebrate Shabbat with family of origin and family of choice, and with friends both old, and those newly moved to be with … Continue reading

Praying After Pittsburgh

Posted: November 1, 2018, 3:24 pm
I am a Rabbi who is privileged to serve an intentional community which takes the form of an independent congregation. We are the only Jewish congregation on the east side of Portland Oregon. We are not only independent but young – only 15 years old – and thus tend to carefully think through our every … Continue reading

Shabbat Bereshit: Starting Over Again

Posted: October 5, 2018, 5:11 pm
Happy 5779! Every year at this time, our Jewish tradition invites us to consider the possibility of starting over in our lives; that it is possible, and more, that there is much Jewish wisdom to support one who seeks to return, to renew, to restart. On this Shabbat when we begin again with the beginning, … Continue reading

Shabbat hol hamo’ed Sukkot: Why Bother?

Posted: September 28, 2018, 3:24 pm
The Festival of Sukkot is seven days long, no, wait, eight; literally, the Jewish folk tradition is that G*d didn’t want to part from us after seven days of joy together, and so asked us to wait one more day before going home. That last day is called Shemini Atzeret, literally, “stop here for an eighth [day].” It’s … Continue reading

Shabbat Ha’azinu: Listen to the Ages

Posted: September 21, 2018, 7:49 pm
Our New Year of 5779 has begun, although the Torah year is not quite complete – we will read the end and the beginning of our Torah when we gather for our Simkhat Torah observance on Monday evening October 1. Between that day and this Shabbat we have an entire Festival to celebrate: Sukkot, the season … Continue reading

Shabbat Shuvah: Remember Who You Are

Posted: September 14, 2018, 10:07 pm
Every year we observe Shabbat Shuvah between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. It is not the same parashah every year, though; this year, our Torah text is parashat VaYelekh, “he went.” It refers to Moshe, called in our tradition Moshe Rabbenu, “our Rabbi” – our teacher, our guide, our spiritual support. וַיֵּלֶךְ, מֹשֶׁה; וַיְדַבֵּר אֶת-הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה, … Continue reading

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