YOM KIPPUR

Posted on September 24th, 2017
BY MATTHEW BERKOWITZ, DIRECTOR OF ISRAEL PROGRAMS, JTS


The Discipline of Atonement


This coming Shabbat culminates the period of aseret yamei teshuvah, the ten days of repentance, as we commemorate Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It is the Sabbath of Sabbaths in which we seek to successfully complete our journey toward making amends and recall the ritual of purification that unfolded in biblical times. This particular ritual is detailed during the Musaf service of Yom Kippur. We read that the high priest would set aside his elegant garments and don the garb of a regular priest as he entered the Holy of Holies. There he would atone for his own sins, the transgressions of his family, and the sins of all of Israel. Subsequently, two goats were selected—one for God and the other designated for “Azazel.” While the former goat would be offered as a sacrifice, the latter animal would be led into the desert wilderness to this mysterious place. How can we better understand this intriguing ritual of the scapegoat?

Nahmanides (13th-century Spanish commentator Rabbi Moshe ben Nahman, or Ramban) sheds light on the significance of the goat and of Azazel. Regarding the latter, Ramban surveys the beliefs of other commentators:

Continue reading.

Shabbat Shuva - Ha’azinu

Posted on September 18th, 2017

Deuteronomy 32:1-32:52 


Adam Rosenthal received rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in May of 2007 and is now serving as rabbi of Peninsula Sinai Congregation in Foster City, California. 


Remember the Days of Old


The Torah describes an earlier time, when lands were distributed fairly by God.


Among the major contributors to suffering around the world is the inequitable distribution of land and resources. The richest 2% of adults in the world own more than half of global household wealth. On a more concrete level, in El Salvador, where I volunteered for 10 days on the AJWS Rabbinical Students’ Delegation, though the land was nominally redistributed in 1992, it was done far from equitably: The poorest people got the lowlands, which are prone to flooding, while the wealthiest held the fertile country, perpetuating the country’s economic inequalities.

In Parashat Ha’Azinu, the Torah poetically describes an earlier time, when lands were apportioned by God to each nation:

Continue reading.

Shabbat Shuva - Ha’azinu

Posted on September 17th, 2017

Deuteronomy 32:1-32:52 


Adam Rosenthal received rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in May of 2007 and is now serving as rabbi of Peninsula Sinai Congregation in Foster City, California. 


Remember the Days of Old


The Torah describes an earlier time, when lands were distributed fairly by God.


Among the major contributors to suffering around the world is the inequitable distribution of land and resources. The richest 2% of adults in the world own more than half of global household wealth. On a more concrete level, in El Salvador, where I volunteered for 10 days on the AJWS Rabbinical Students’ Delegation, though the land was nominally redistributed in 1992, it was done far from equitably: The poorest people got the lowlands, which are prone to flooding, while the wealthiest held the fertile country, perpetuating the country’s economic inequalities.

In Parashat Ha’Azinu, the Torah poetically describes an earlier time, when lands were apportioned by God to each nation:

Continue reading.

Nitzavim-Vayeilech

Posted on September 10th, 2017

Deuteronomy 29:9 - 31:30 

Rabbi James Jacobson-Maisels teaches Jewish thought and mysticism at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.


The Song of Humanity


Song can remind us of our authentic selves and our genuine power.


We often read Parashat Vayelekh on Shabbat Shuvah, the Shabbat of Repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Fittingly, this Torah portion deals with sin and repentance, with becoming lost on our way and returning to our true selves.

In the portion, God foretells Israel’s future sins and their consequences, how they will turn to other gods and then be overtaken by suffering, leading God to say, “anokhi haster astir panai–I will surely hide my face (Deut. 31:16-18).” The hidden face of God, the classic theological expression of the presence of suffering and evil in the world, here seems to be a response by God to the sins of Israel, a punishment for their misdeeds.

Continue reading.

Ki Tavo

Posted on September 3rd, 2017

Deuteronomy 26:1 - 29:8


Rabbi Dorothy A. Richman is the Rabbi Martin Ballonoff Memorial Rabbi-in-Residence at Berkeley Hillel.


Affirming Responsibility


The power of "Amen."


There is a striking scene imagined in Parashat Ki Tavo (Deut. 27:11-26): Upon crossing the Jordan, the 12 tribes of Israel will divide into two groups. Six tribes will stand on a southern mountain facing the other six tribes on a northern mountain. The Levites will then scream a catalogue of 12 sins, each beginning with the phrase “Cursed be the one.” After each articulated sin, the other 11 tribes call out: “Amen!”

Solid Commitments

The tribes answer the curses in unison — what is the power of the word “Amen”?

Continue reading.

Pages

CBS News & Events

Thursday, September 28, 2017 - 6:30pm
Tuesday, October 3, 2017 - 7:00pm
Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 5:45pm
Saturday, October 14, 2017 - 1:30pm
Sunday, October 15, 2017 - 10:45am