What’s in a Name: My Favorite Torah Portion

My middle name is Miriam. I am named after Mark, my mother’s brother who was killed at the young age of 39. My name is a remembrance of him just as my daughter’s name is a reminder of my two Grandmothers, Helen and Rose. Names (and often specifically Jewish names) have great meaning and what […]

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The Kids’ Table

Passover is my favorite Jewish holiday because it is mostly about storytelling. Every year, my family sits around the Passover table and tells the story of how the Jews escaped slavery in Egypt by blindly following Moses across the Red Sea. The story is about freedom, faith and most of all, food. We eat matzah […]

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Strolling with Moses on Shavuot

My daughter is Jewish. My daughter is Catholic. My daughter is Mexican-American-Ashkenazi-Aztec. God is not angry. God is loving. It took me a long time to understand that.

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Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Last year, in the “Community Voices” section of my local paper there was a column written by a woman about the proliferation of yard signs in her neighborhood proclaiming “God lives here!” She said that often the behavior of her neighbors displaying these signs was far from divine. Recently, I recalled this column as I […]

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Be Courageous

An email from the family in charge of leading the discussion for the next fourth-grade book club landed in my inbox. It said the selection for this month’s meeting was Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. An appropriate choice since we were about to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Some parents […]

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Nearing The End

Wow! We are about to complete the yearly cycle of reading the entire Five Books of Moses, The Torah, with only 2 more parshiot (portions) until we get to the very end of the scroll. But between now and the very last verses of the Torah, there are a bunch of holidays — Rosh HaShanah […]

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Coming In… and the Planet?

Last week, we were “going out” (“Ki Tetzei“) and this week, we are “coming in.” In the first words of this week’s parasha, Ki Tavo (“When You come In [to the land of Israel]”), we find Moses/Moshe continuing his long valedictory address to the people. He wants to cover all bases, since he isn’t coming […]

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Something Doesn’t Make Sense…

As the storyteller (and others) point out, this week’s Torah portion, Ki Tetzei (“When You Go Out”), has more commandments (mitzvot) than any other parasha in the entire Five Books of Moses. We are smack dab in the middle of the book of D’varim (Deuteronomy), the last discourse of Moshe/Moses as he prepares the Children […]

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See the Blessings (and Curse)

To think about as you read: When do you clearly see and acknowledge the blessings in your life? What do you think it means to be cursed? What tempts you away from doing the right thing? “Re’eh” — “See”! The Torah portion this week opens with this command by the God of Israel to “see” […]

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Vulnerability of the Heart and Land

The name of this week’s parasha, Ekev, is kind of a hard word to translate precisely into English. Here are 3 renditions of the first phrase (Deuteronomy 7 verse 12): “And if you do obey these rules and observe them carefully…” (Jewish Publication Society) “And it shall come about in consequence of your heeding these […]

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