Parashat Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:8)

“When her time to give birth was at hand, there were twins in her womb.” (Genesis 25:24) Parashat Toldot tells a familiar tale of familial conflict. Rebecca gives birth to Esau and Jacob, boys with very different personalities. Isaac favors Esau; Rebecca prefers Jacob. The sibling rivalry comes to a climax when Jacob, at Rebecca’s […]

Parashat Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18)

“And Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac.” (Genesis 25:5) Parashat Chayei Sarah declares “And Abraham was old, and come into days, and God blessed Abraham bakol, in all.” (Gen. 24:1) It’s a little surprising to read because the first Jewish family is a mess: Isaac and Abraham have not spoken since returning from […]

Parashat Vayera (Genesis 18:1-24)

“…Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” (Genesis 18:25) Parashat Vayera tells the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and introduces an important concept in Jewish thought: z’chut, or merit. Abraham distinguishes himself from Noah by challenging God’s plan and holding God accountable to a moral code. Abraham advocates for […]

Parashat Lekh Lekha (Genesis 12:1-17:27)

“I will establish my covenant between me and you and I will make you exceedingly numerous.” (Genesis 17:2) Parashat Lekh Lekha opens a new era in history. God recognizes partnering with all of humanity (through Noah) to steward the world has failed. God tries a new strategy: electing one family (which will grow into a […]

Parashat Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32)

“But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall enter the ark; you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.” (Gen 6:18) Noah, famous for building an ark to save humanity, is a tzaddik, a righteous person. We know because the Torah says so (Gen. 6:9). In fact, Noah is […]

Parshat B’reishit (Genesis 1:1-6:8)

“The Lord God said, “It is not good for man to be alone; I will make a fitting helper for him.’” (Genesis 2:18) On Simchat Torah we read V’zot Habracha, the closing parasha, or portion, of the Torah and then return to B’reishit, the opening parasha, immediately. B’reishit describes the origins of the world: the […]

Shabbat Chol Hamoed Sukkot (Intermediate Shabbat of Sukkot) (Exodus 33:12-34:26)

“God said, My presence will go and provide you rest.” (Exodus 33:14) The Torah reading for Shabbat Chol Hamoed describes the aftermath of the episode of the golden calf. It’s a curious selection for a holiday known as z’man simchateinu, the time of our rejoicing. After all, the golden calf represents the Israelites’ ultimate betrayal […]

Yom Kippur (Leviticus 16:1-16:34)

“And should I not care about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people…?” (Jonah 4:11) Jonah is unique among the Biblical prophets; only he gets an entire city to repent with one warning. It makes sense, then, for the rabbis to choose Jonah for the prophetic […]

Parashat Ha-azinu (Deuteronomy 23:1-32:52)

“For the name of the Lord I proclaim; Give glory to our God!” (Deut. 32:3) On each day of Rosh Hashana we recite the phrase, hayom harat olam, today the world is created, three times. Parashat Ha-azinu reminds us this is not only the beginning of history, but also an ongoing, daily and dynamic process. […]

Parashat Nitzavim-Vayelech (Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30)

“That day, Moses wrote down this poem and taught it to the Israelites.” (Deut. 31:22) We read two parashot (portions) this week because of how the Jewish calendar is calculated. Months are determined by the moon’s cycle, but the year is determined by the sun’s. Therefore, a Jewish year can have from 50-55 weeks. Since […]

See Israel in a Whole New Way! Visit Israel with the LGBTQ Community! Learn More.