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Tag Archives: Holy Land

Vayekhi — Genesis 47:28 – 50:26

One of the greatest malaises of Western civilization to this day was captured by Ernest Becker (1924-1974) in his book, Denial of Death. Becker points to the reality we know all too well, that we shield and mask death from our lives until it is too late. What we seek to mask, according to Becker, […] http://bethsholomsf.org/vayekhi-genesis-4728-5026-3/ Continue Reading...

Vayishlach — Genesis 32:4–36:43

In our ongoing quest for wholeness in life, sometimes we feel instead as though we’ve become more broken than we were at the outset. Laban sees this in his analysis of Jacob when he suggests, in last week’s parsha, “you were longing for your father’s house.” (Genesis 31:30). If Jacob was indeed that ambiguous about […] http://bethsholomsf.org/vayishlach-genesis-324-3643-2/ Continue Reading...

Vayeitzai — Genesis 28:10 – 32:3

To flee from a challenging situation may strike us irresponsible. However, sometimes taking leave is not about fleeing, but taking hold of a new chapter in life. This is what is at stake in the opening words of this week’s reading: “Jacob took leave of Be’er Sheva and set out for Haran.” (Genesis 28:10) Jacob […] http://bethsholomsf.org/vayeitzai-genesis-2810-323-3/ Continue Reading...

Ki Tavo — Deuteronomy 26:1 – 29:8

How do you express your gratitude? With words? With a thank-you card? John F. Kennedy once suggested that “as we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.“ A robust “attitude of gratitude” requires an act that acknowledges a benefactor’s benevolence and communicates one’s […] http://bethsholomsf.org/ki-tavo-deuteronomy-261-298-2/ Continue Reading...

Re’eh — Deuteronomy 11:26 – 16:17

American naturalist-poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once remarked, “Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.“ Emerson’s 1836 essay, Nature, expresses the belief that everything in our world – even a drop of dew – is a microcosm of the universe. This transcendentalist notion is not foreign to Judaism, especially its […] http://bethsholomsf.org/reeh-deuteronomy-1126-1617-2/ Continue Reading...

Va’et’hanan — Deuteronomy 3:23 – 7:11

How does empathy resonate with you? American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson once remarked that, “Humans aren’t as good as we should be in our capacity to empathize with feelings and thoughts of others, be they humans or other animals on Earth. So maybe part of our formal education should be training in empathy. Imagine how […] http://bethsholomsf.org/vaethanan-deuteronomy-323-711-2/ Continue Reading...

Tisha B’av: A Meaningful Fast

By the numbers, fewer and fewer non-Orthodox Jews are fasting for Tisha B’Av. Some even argue that we shouldn’t fast! We hope to provide you with an opportunity to reconnect with the meaning and power of the Ninth of Av. On Monday, July 31, please join CBS and Makor Or for a moving evening of […] http://bethsholomsf.org/tisha-bav-a-meaningful-fast/ Continue Reading...

“What Is Talmud Study?” Chapter Three

Henry Hollander, leader of our CBS Talmud shiur (study or lesson), is contributing regular blog posts that explore the Talmud, thus providing members of the community who can not participate in the Tuesday night sessions with a taste of the wonder and complexity the Talmud offers. CHAPTER THREE of his exploration appears just below. You […] http://bethsholomsf.org/what-is-talmud-study-chapter-three/ Continue Reading...

Samantha Friedland’s Bat Mitzvah

Shalom. My name is Samantha Friedland, and I am a 7th grader at Creative Arts Charter School. My main hobbies are playing the flute, the guitar, and soccer. I also love being with friends and family, and just having fun. My bat mitzvah will take place this Shabbat, May 27. It will be an exciting […] http://bethsholomsf.org/samantha-friedlands-bat-mitzvah/ Continue Reading...

Behar / Bechukotai – Leviticus 25:1 – 27:34

“Sowing the seed, my hand is one with the earth. …Hungry and trusting, my mind is one with the earth. Eating the fruit, my body is one with the earth.“ Wendell Berry’s poem “Prayers and Sayings of the Mad Farmer” asks us to consider how the farmer is like the farm. Similarly, the strong language […] http://bethsholomsf.org/behar-bechukotai-leviticus-251-2734/ Continue Reading...