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

Posts Tagged Elul

Rabbi’s Elul Message this Week

Shalom Shir Tikvah community, Last week’s Elul email contemplated teshuvah translated as “repentance.”  Teshuvah is also translated as “return.” This meaning is derived from the Prophet Jeremiah’s plea in the Book Eikha, “Lamentations.” The book is an account of the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of the Jewish people. They stream down the road, homeless immigrants looking for safety and shelter, for peace. Among the final words of the book, we read hashiveynu, “return us”:   הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ ה’ אֵלֶיךָ וְנָשׁוּבָה, חַדֵּשׁ יָמֵינוּ כְּקֶדֶם. Bring us back to You, HaShem, and we shall return; renew our days as at the beginning. (Eikha 5.21) Hashiveynu – “cause us to return,” or, “help us to do teshuvah.” We sing these words at the close of every Torah ritual, and if you are feeling poignant, it is a moment to think of losses: innocence, optimism, the belief in a place of safety and certainty. Thinking of them and longing for them is the human condition that

Read more

Writing Toward Wholeness

SUNDAY, AUGUST 30 at 1pm Join us for Elul: Writing Towards Wholeness, a free afternoon workshop led by Shir Tikvah member and professional writer and teacher Judith Pulman. First, write a word. Then, write a sentence, it will soon become a paragraph, and that will soon become a clutch of pages that matter. In a group setting, explore and write down stories and guiding principles that might yet be unexplored. Develop materials that you can use in an ethical will, a memoir, or a letter to a loved one. Beginners are welcome: all you have to do is relax and keep your pen moving. Sharing is optional. Bring something to write on (laptops ok.)   Continue the process: Writing workshop support circle with Tivona Reith Thursday, Sept 3 at 7pm Sunday, Sept 6 at 2.30pm Tuesday, Sept 15 at 7pm Sunday, Sept 20 at 2.30pm

Read more

Shabbat Ki Tavo: What Kind of Jew Are You?

This week’s parashah begins with a rare example of actual prayer formula in ancient Israel. Most of the time, “prayer”, that is, seeking to communicate with G-d, was expressed in a non-verbal form, that of sacrifice. A close look at the book VaYikra (Leviticus) will demonstrate the truth my former teacher taught in his book The Sanctuary of Silence: the kohanim did not recite words when they brought the prescribed sacrifices, and neither did the Israelites who brought them. This is different, and it’s worth considering why. Here’s how the parashat hashavua starts: It shall be that when you come into the land which G-d is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell there, you shall take the first of all your fruit of the earth that you have been given by G-d, and you shall put it in a basket. Bring it to the place that G-d

Read more

Shabbat Ki Tetze: There Are No Small Details

Judaism is full of lofty ideals and ethical standards, but if you only know your religion in this way you are missing out on a layer of Jewishness which is much closer to home. (No, not the “cultural Judaism” layer of eating bagels….) It’s the “what do I do right now?” layer, what we might call practical Jewish ethics – or what Rabbi Louis Jacobs called “habit forming Jewish ethics”. Musar, a classic form of Jewish practical ethics, was created by Rabbi Israel Salantar in 19th century Lithuania “with the aim of promoting greater inwardness, religious piety, and ethical conduct” (to learn more click here). The general idea is to avoid creating Jews who keep kosher but act unethically; that is to say, they keep the halakha of practice but not of interpersonal relationships with other people and with the earth. The mitzvot of such relationship responsibility are there, but Jewish study did not focus upon them in the average Lithuanian yeshiva

Read more

Explore Past Posts

LGBT Safe Zone

Visit Shir Tikvah