A Progressive Jewish Congregation in Portland, Oregon
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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 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

Shabbat Ki Tavo: Final Approach To Landing

Posted: August 31, 2018, 8:18 pm
On this Shabbat Ki Tavo, “when you arrive,” it seems so appropriate that we are counting the sixth of seven Weeks of Consolation before Rosh HaShanah. We have nearly arrived at the time toward which we are counting, and whether because of procrastination, distraction or inaction, most of us are caught by surprise. והָיָה, כִּי-תָבוֹא אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, נֹתֵן … Continue reading

Shabbat Shoftim: How To Be Judgemental

Posted: August 17, 2018, 8:04 pm
“Whoever studies the Torah for its own sake [l’shmah] merits many things…[among other things] it gives the individual sovereignty and dominion and the ability to judge.”  – Pirke Avot 6.1 By an interesting coincidence, it was on this week of Shabbat Shoftim (“judges”) that our weekly Talmud study class contemplated this teaching. At first glance we are, perhaps, not … Continue reading

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

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