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

Shabbat Tazria-Metzora: Lift Every Voice

Posted: April 20, 2018, 9:29 pm
Why does the mind so often choose to fly away at the moment the word waited for all one’s life is about to be spoken?  (Alice Walker, The Temple of My Familiar) This week we have a Torah double-header. Our parashat hashavua (Torah text for this week) is two: both Tazria and Metzora. Both refer to … Continue reading

Shabbat Shemini: Not Why. How.

Posted: April 13, 2018, 7:51 pm
Our parashat hashavua this week brings us back to our regularly scheduled Torah text after two weeks devoted to special Pesakh Torah. We are back to the Book VaYikra, or Leviticus, and expect nothing more or less than the initiation of the mishkan (the sacred space the Israelites created in the wilderness) with the first … Continue reading

Shabbat and Pesakh and more, oh my!

Posted: April 6, 2018, 8:26 pm
Hag sameakh! Today and tomorrow are hagim, holy days that end our Pesakh Festival. Jewish offices are closed today and tomorrow, and Passover ends tomorrow evening at sundown with the end of Shabbat. On this Shabbat, the Shemini or 8th day of the holiday, we depart from our usual Torah parashat hashavua (reading of the week) and read … Continue reading

Shabbat Pesakh I: What is this Matzah?

Posted: March 30, 2018, 6:09 pm
Tonight at sundown over 70% of all self-identifying Jews will observe the beginning of Pesakh (Hebrew for “Passover”). At the very least, they will all have matzah, the symbolic bread of affliction, on their tables – gluten free, locally made, even homemade, matzah is the ultimate symbol of the holy day period. Hag haMatzot, “The Festival … Continue reading

Shabbat HaGadol: It’s the Details

Posted: March 23, 2018, 9:23 pm
This Shabbat is Shabbat haGadol, the “Great Shabbat” which is the last before Pesakh. It is traditional on this Shabbat to spend time reminding ourselves and each other of two things, that neither may take precedence over the other: the meaning, and the details. it’s quite typical in this time of ours to downgrade the … Continue reading

Shabbat VaYikra/Shabbat HaHodesh: The Small Alef

Posted: March 16, 2018, 6:23 pm
This Shabbat we begin the book VaYikra, Leviticus. The first word of the narrative is the book’s name, a word which is Hebrew for “[and] he called.” The lack of pronouns indicate that this is a continuation of an earlier story, and indeed the content fits that assumption. We have just ended the detailed description … Continue reading

Shabbat VaYakhel-Pekudey/Shabbat Parah: Holy Tents and Sacred Cows

Posted: March 9, 2018, 10:58 am
This week I am privileged to share an erev Shabbat thought with you from Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel. Soon a group of Shir Tikvah congregational family and friends will arrive and I look forward to greeting them soon at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. I’ve come a few days early to see … Continue reading

Shabbat Ki Tisa, and Shushan Purim: Sowing Hate is a Form of Murder

Posted: March 2, 2018, 9:06 pm
Well, we’ve heard the Megillat Ester, and Shabbat Ki Tisa is upon us, and we haven’t learned much yet, apparently. I find myself much dismayed. Incidents come to my attention. Haman is still among us, and inside of us. You, who believe you need not check your hypocrisy, because that there’s no way that the … Continue reading

Shabbat Zakhor: When a Lie is Right

Posted: February 23, 2018, 10:45 pm
The word Zakhor, which is the special name attached to this Shabbat before Purim, means “remember.” We are commanded to remember to blot out the name of Amalek, a historical enemy of our people who is seen recurring in those who have tried to eradicate the Jewish people from the earth: from Haman in the … Continue reading

Shabbat Terumah: The Gift of Your Life

Posted: February 16, 2018, 9:49 pm
What are you supposed to be doing with your one, wild, precious life? After all, it will all end, and too soon. The parashat hashavua this week is Terumah, “gift”, a word that speaks of a free-will offering that comes from the heart, chosen by the giver out of the joy of the chance to … Continue reading

Explore Past Posts

LGBT Safe Zone

Visit Shir Tikvah