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

PRESS RELEASE: The Killing of Quanice Hayes by officer Andrew Hearst

Posted: March 26, 2017, 9:01 pm
Press Statement    For Immediate Release                             March 22, 2017 Contact: Rev. Dr. LeRoy Haynes, Jr. Rev. Dr. T. Allen Bethel Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition For Justice and Police Reform Subject: The Killing of Quanice Hayes by officer Andrew Hearst   The Grand Jury decision not to indict Portland Police Officer Andrew Hearst for the killing of … Continue reading

Shabbat HaHodesh: Say His Name

Posted: March 24, 2017, 7:37 pm
This Shabbat carries so much significance – it is Shabbat HaHodesh, the Shabbat of The Month, that is, the first month of the Jewish year, the month in which we will commemorate the Exodus from Egypt. That escape occurred on the 14th day of the month we now call Nisan, and every year we gather … Continue reading

The Most Important Mitzvah

Posted: March 23, 2017, 5:25 pm
It’s a Portland kind of question: What do you do for Passover when you’re gluten free?  In order to answer this question it’s best to first consider a more fundamental question: What is the Most Important Mitzvah of Pesakh? There are several mitzvot that all might be considered primary:  1. have a Seder and tell … Continue reading

Shabbat Ki Tisa: What Are You Doing For Pesakh?

Posted: March 17, 2017, 6:43 pm
As we know, the days marked as holy for recalling and reliving the Exodus from Egypt have marked the Jewish people and Jewish culture profoundly; for thousands of years the Jewish story has been retold every year as part of our human celebration of the spring season. We need to tell this story; we need … Continue reading

Shabbat Zakhor: Fear of G*d

Posted: March 10, 2017, 9:18 pm
The learning of this week’s parashah all comes down to a confrontation between Shifra and Pu’ah, on one side, and Amalek, on the other. Shifra and Pu’ah were the Hebrew midwives whom Pharaoh commanded to carry out his plan to eradicate the Hebrews by killing all the boy babies as they were born. But the midwives … Continue reading

PDX Never Again: a response to the bomb threat at the Mittleman JCC, Portland OR

Posted: March 9, 2017, 6:03 pm
PDX Never Again statement in response to bomb threat at Mittleman Jewish Community Center and similar occurences nationwide: We are at an inflection point in our nation’s history. In the past few months, we have seen an upswing in hate crimes, violence, vandalism, and threats made against marginalized individuals and communities across the country. As … Continue reading

Shabbat Mishpatim / Shabbat Shekalim: Community – The Difficulty Is In the Details

Posted: February 24, 2017, 11:00 pm
Every year we study once again the account of the moment when our people stood at the foot of Mt Sinai, witnessed a revelation, and became a community. Literally a “peak moment,” our commentators teach that this was the only time in all the history of our People of Israel when we were of one … Continue reading

Prayer for Standing Rock

Posted: February 22, 2017, 7:48 pm
Let us rest, our God, in peace. And let us get up to life. Awaken us to another day of action, of solidarity and support. Lift us out of slumber with a resounding affirmation of life and those who protect the living earth. Spread out over us a sukkah of peace, and give us good … Continue reading

Shabbat Yitro: Community comes from Sinai

Posted: February 17, 2017, 7:22 pm
On this Shabbat Yitro our parashat hashavua describes the moment of standing at Sinai, that moment that made us a community. Close readers of the Torah such as our ancient and modern commentators and interpreters have long noted that the Torah speaks of those who came out of Egypt as an erev-rav, a “mixed multitude,” … Continue reading

Shabbat Bo: Come to The Hard Place

Posted: February 3, 2017, 4:39 am
Bo el Par’oh, Moshe is commanded at the beginning of our parashah: “come to Pharaoh”. Many have asked: why “come”, when the right verb should be “go”? To consider this we first should look at a different, but possibly related, question. This parashat hashavua describes the escalating tensions between Pharaoh, King of Egypt, and the … Continue reading

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