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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

Shabbat Ekev: Listen With Care

Posted: August 3, 2018, 9:25 pm
Which of us is not angry, disappointed, even resentful, of the way our lives have changed in the past few years? Aren’t we all getting very tired of the stress served up daily by the media, infusing our every interaction with each other? Of course, there is more than one response to this situation. In … Continue reading

Shabbat Nakhamu: Consolation Is In Our Hands

Posted: July 30, 2018, 7:04 pm
It has been a bittersweet week. In this week alone we have felt the sharp impact of pain on our relationships both near and far. The State of Israel passed a law that undermines the values of equality and justice promised in its own declaration of independence; the Federal government of the United States admitted that … Continue reading

Shabbat Devarim: It Gets Worse

Posted: July 23, 2018, 8:00 pm
An ox knows its master and an ass knows where the food is; but Israel does not know, my people is thoughtless.”  (Isaiah 1.3)   The haftarah for this Shabbat gives the Shabbat its name: Hazon, “[prophetic] vision.” It is always chanted on this Shabbat before Tisha b’Av, the day of mourning for the destruction … Continue reading

More signatures added to our Open Letter to Mayor Ted Wheeler

Posted: July 18, 2018, 5:09 pm
Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance  Bearing Moral Witness in Times of Turmoil To Mayor Wheeler: The Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance affirms your original decision NOT to use Portland Police to intervene in any way to address the Occupy ICE encampment at the ICE headquarters on SW Macadam. Even if members of the Portland Police Bureau were … Continue reading

Shabbat Matot-Masey: We’re In This Together

Posted: July 13, 2018, 9:24 pm
Shalom Shir Tikvah Learning Community, On this Shabbat we read a double parashah, both Matot and Masey, and at the end of it we finish the Book BaMidbar, the account of much wandering in geography and in relationships. And in this specific Torah narrative, part of the second year of the Triennial Cycle of reading, … Continue reading

Shabbat Balak: Do You Know Where You Stand? Do You Know Why?

Posted: June 29, 2018, 8:47 pm
Thousands of years ago, a prophet appearing in our parashat hashavua, Bil’am ben Be’or, stood on a high place overlooking the tents of the people of Israel. He had been tasked with cursing the people, at the order of King Balak, who had hired him. Balak feared the presence of these immigrants at his border and … Continue reading

Shabbat Shelakh L’kha: There Are People Living There

Posted: June 10, 2018, 9:56 pm
Once again, the scouts of Sh’lakh-L’kha are left holding the bag. Every year around this time we Jews who engage in weekly Torah study again reach this story, of the moment when our ancestors stood at the verge of the land they had traveled to find, the land of their ancestral home. Scouts sent ahead … Continue reading

Shabbat BeHa’alot’kha: Lift It Up

Posted: June 1, 2018, 8:33 pm
Last week the parashah began with the command to lift up every face; this week, the word beha’alot’kha, “in your lifting up” refers to raising up the lights of the menorah, the seven-branched lamp designed by G*d, according to Jewish tradition, to illuminate the holy place. To lift up the face is to see the … Continue reading

Shabbat Naso: Look Me In The Eye

Posted: May 29, 2018, 3:50 pm
The word that identifies this week’s Torah text is naso, part of the idiom naso et rosh, is correctly translated “take a census,” or, more simply, “count heads.” The actual Hebrew wording is more beautiful; it literally says “lift up the head.” In other words, for our ancestors, to count someone was to look that person in the eye, and to … Continue reading

Shabbat BaMidbar and Shavuot 5778: Into The Wilderness

Posted: May 18, 2018, 6:35 pm
Our parashat hashavua is called after the name of the book it opens, BaMidbar, “in the wilderness.” The first verse is both simple and completely mysterious: וַיְדַבֵּר ה’ אֶל-מֹשֶׁה בְּמִדְבַּר סִינַי G‑d spoke to Moshe in the wilderness of Sinai (1:1) This is the Shabbat before Shavuot, the Festival on which we commemorate the day when the … Continue reading

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