Opening and the Ark

What does it mean to open the Ark? In my experience the Torah service exhibits more diversity than any other part of a Jewish service. Reading length varies across denominations. General approach ranges from informal circles embracing Torah to formal, long-standing choreography. And the Torah service is one spot where women’s absence on the bima, […]

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“Gift” Resources

[email of early March, 1998, to Fabrangen Havurah– providing source notes for dvar Torah on the portion Terumah (“Gifts,” for the Tabernacle), Exod. 25:1-27:19 — Note: I don’t (yet) provide links here for most print resources or check to see if the internet links still exist.]

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54 New Torah Ideas

Jewish Lights has just published a volume called The Modern Men’s Torah Commentary: New Insights from Jewish Men on the 54 Weekly Torah Portions, which offers an interesting array of new perspectives.

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Study Mechitza?

The Torah: A Women’s Commentary  is a great new resource, from women Torah scholars highlighting women in the Torah and women’s perspectives on the Torah.

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New “Ball of Fire”?

The Torah: A Women’s Commentary — published in 2008 by the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) — includes full English and Hebrew Torah texts interspersed with commentary; introductory essays; and an overview, poetic “voices” and “another view” for each weekly portion. It encompasses the commentary of 100 authors, from across the spectrum of Jewish practice and belief, and incorporates the work of […]

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Leaving Genesis: Departing Women

This week’s Torah portion is Vayechi (“Jacob lived [in the land of Egypt]… “) — Genesis 47:28 – 50:26 — which closes the book of Genesis. A few weeks back (Vayishlach, Gen. 32:4 -36:43), we read of Rachel’s death and Dinah’s rape.

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Genesis Poems

Cain Discovers Infinity One red rage roaring boiling blood a brother bleeding one letter in the name of God losing ink the earth swallows the ink the bloods of countless storied untold

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(Deeply) in the Beginning

Every fall, I find myself somewhere different, “in the beginning.” The Torah cycle carries Jews from Eden, one autumn, through to the edge of the Promised Land the next fall; then the scroll is re-rolled, and we start again. Forever rolling through that same five-book story complicates the concept of “beginning.” And the idea of […]

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