Mar02

Shabbat to Shabbat: Make a Big Impact with a Small Act

Written by // Rabbi Samantha Shabman Categories D'var Torah

This week, I have been thinking about what I can I do to make things better for people across our country and our world who are suffering, who are hungry, who are scared. This week in particular, I was feeling an overwhelming sense of wanting to fix it all. However, I was also feeling discouraged, knowing that this is an impossible task. I was then reminded of a story, a story that you might even know.

Feb23

Shabbat to Shabbat: Scholar in Residence Weekend

Written by // Rabbi Bradley G. Levenberg Categories D'var Torah

It started when she took off her shoes. Our speaker stood at the front of a packed sanctuary on a Friday night, microphone in hand, and let us know that she was going to take off her shoes to deliver her address.

And the congregation ate it up.

Amy-Jill Levine endeared herself to Sinai that night almost exactly one year ago. While one could point to the familiarity that her opening comment brought or the warmth of her presentation, the truth of the matter is that she gave one heck of a Friday evening sermon. In partnership with Holy Innocents, Dr. Amy-Jill Levine spoke that evening on the topic, “Common Mistakes Jews and Christians Make About Each Other.” She followed that compelling presentation by leading Torah study the next morning to a record attendance of over 200 people. She is compelling and she is engaging and that is why we wanted her back.

Feb16

Shabbat to Shabbat: Embracing Disability

Written by // Beth Schafer Categories D'var Torah

In this week’s Torah Portion, Yitro, we read the giving of the Ten Commandments. It is the bedrock of Jewish peoplehood as we adopt a set of laws and precepts that transformed the Israelites from a tribe to nation. A couple of months from now we will read from Torah a passage known as the Holiness Code. In a sense, it is an expanded version of the Ten Commandments and in it contains an important mitzvah that is worth taking note of this week. The Torah states, “Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind.” (Lev. 18:14) What we learn from this is the importance of taking care of those who have disabilities. We are, in fact, commanded to look out for those members of the community who are physically disadvantaged in some way.

Feb16

Shabbat to Shabbat: Embracing Disability

Written by // Beth Schafer Categories D'var Torah

In this week’s Torah Portion, Yitro, we read the giving of the Ten Commandments. It is the bedrock of Jewish peoplehood as we adopt a set of laws and precepts that transformed the Israelites from a tribe to nation. A couple of months from now we will read from Torah a passage known as the Holiness Code. In a sense, it is an expanded version of the Ten Commandments and in it contains an important mitzvah that is worth taking note of this week. The Torah states, “Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind.” (Lev. 18:14) What we learn from this is the importance of taking care of those who have disabilities. We are, in fact, commanded to look out for those members of the community who are physically disadvantaged in some way.

Feb09

Shabbat to Shabbat: How Shabbat and Spaghetti Support our Teens

Written by // Beth Schafer Categories D'var Torah

When my daughter Hannah was applying for college and writing her essays to accompany her applications she was asked to write about a life changing experience. She chose without the blink of an eye to write about her experience working at Camp Jenny. For those of you unfamiliar with this program, Camp Jenny is held over Memorial Day weekend at Camp Coleman and is staffed entirely by our NFTY region’s (and Florida’s region as well) high school students. Camp Jenny is attended by inner-city children from Atlanta who work all year to earn the right to attend. It is a profound awakening for both groups of kids-ours learn that they are, in fact, living a life of privilege, and the children who attend learn about safety and security and most of all, FUN!

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