Shabbat HaChodesh - Vayak’heil/P’kudei

Posted on March 20th, 2017

EXODUS 35:1–40:38


D'var Torah By Rabbi Ana Bonnheim for ReformJudaism.org


The Formation of a People


Parashat Vayak’heil/P’kudei is a double Torah portion that concludes the Book of Exodus. The paired Torah portions describe the building of the Tabernacle and the anointing of the priests. The parashiyot are primarily composed of many verses of detailed plans and descriptions of rituals, some of which are hard to visualize sitting in such a different world today.

I want to take a step back and reflect on Exodus as an entire book, with Parashat Vayak’heil/P’kudei as the penultimate culmination of a lot of action. Genesis ended long ago with the movement of Joseph’s family from Canaan to Egypt. It was the story of a single family, rapidly expanding, with many relatives and growing generations. This particular family was exceptional, because this was the family with whom God created a relationship. Abraham’s personal relationship with God is passed down to his son, grandson, and great-grandson. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph all encounter God in different ways, due to the varying trials and circumstances of their lives. But still, Genesis is the composite of stories of personal relationships between God and individual men.

Continue reading.

Shabbat Parah - Ki Tissa

Posted on March 13th, 2017

Exodus 30:11−34:35 and Numbers 19:1 - 19:22 


D'var Torah By Rabbi ANA BONNHEIM for ReformJudaism.org


A Concrete Relationship with God


At this point in Exodus, in Parashat Ki Tisa, the Israelites have seen a lot of action: the great drama of the plagues, the earth-shattering Exodus itself, and the transcendent moment of Revelation at Sinai. But now, it is as if the rushing scenes have been paused in favor of, well, waiting. The Israelites are somewhere in the desert, they have had these communal, transcendent experiences, and now, … now they are killing time until Moses returns to them.

Continue reading.

Shabbat Zachor - Tetzaveh

Posted on March 6th, 2017

Exodus 27:20-30:10 

Rabbi Laura Geller for ReformJudaism.org


For Honor and for Beauty


Can I wear a pants suit when I am leading services? How long should my skirts be? Do I have to wear a black suit when I am officiating at a funeral? What should a woman rabbi wear under the chuppah?

Early in my career, when there were so few women rabbis that we all knew each other, questions like these were part of the conversation. I still won’t wear a pants suit on the bimah, though most of my women colleagues do. It took me many years before I would even wear pants to work. Part of my hesitation probably has something to do with the era in which I was ordained, when it was still a struggle for women rabbis to be taken seriously by many within our community. But part might also be related to this week’s Torah portion, T’tzaveh.

Continue reading.

Terumah

Posted on February 27th, 2017

Exodus 25:1 - 27:19 96 

D'var Torah By Rabbi BETH KALISCH for ReformJudaism.org


Finding God in Large and Small Spaces


Anyone who has lived in New York City is familiar with the challenges of "small-space living." When I was apartment hunting in New York, I looked at one apartment where the kitchen was so small, the refrigerator was placed directly in front of the kitchen sink. In order to wash your dishes, the real estate agent explained, you could just stand off to the side and reach in. In the apartment I ended up taking, one of the bedrooms could only fit a bed — no other furniture at all. Luckily, my roommate was short enough to be able to stand underneath a loft bed to access a desk and a dresser.

Continue reading.

Shabbat Shekalim - Mishpatim

Posted on February 20th, 2017

Exodus 21:1−24:18 


D'var Torah By Rabbi BETH KALISCH for ReformJudaism.org


The Roots of the Amicus Brief


Following the giving of the Ten Commandments in last week’s Torah portion, Parashat Mishpatim brings us a diverse collection of civil, criminal, ritual, and ethical laws.Keyboard with scales-of-justice key Included in the parashah is a section of text that has become relevant to a topic that is highly contested in our day.

Next month, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear Whole Woman's Health v. Cole, a challenge to a restrictive Texas abortion law. It will be the first time in more than 20 years that the Supreme Court has heard an abortion case.

Continue reading.

Pages