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Tag Archives: Israelites

Julian Rapaport’s Bar Mitzvah

Shalom, my name is Julian Rapaport. I am a seventh grader at The Brandeis School of San Francisco. People describe me as an “old soul” and I guess they are right. I love playing Beatles records on my new turntable, listening to Mel Brooks’ 2,000 Year Old Man, and following politics. I also play saxophone in […] http://bethsholomsf.org/julian-rapaports-bar-mitzvah/ Continue Reading...

Yitro — Exodus 18:1–20:23

Whether we are reading The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Iliad, Beowulf, or La Chanson de Roland, we immediately recognize something all great works of literature tend to share in common — all mark out their protagonists as heroes from the outset. So who is the real hero in the Moses story? When we turn to […] http://bethsholomsf.org/yitro-exodus-181-2023-3/ Continue Reading...

Beshalach — Exodus 13:17–17:16

How does any reasonable person react when facing “the lesser of two evils” or “an offer you can’t refuse”? When we find ourselves “on the horns of a dilemma,” we are usually “trapped between a rock and a hard place” — this is a feeling we know all too well in life, whether in business […] http://bethsholomsf.org/beshalach-exodus-1317-1716-3/ Continue Reading...

Bo — Exodus 10:1–13:16

Insofar as it relates to modern life, religious scholars have cast the role of ritual in a certain light, understanding how it forms and informs our human societies and cultures through that preferred lens. In her renowned study, Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice (1992), the anthropologist of religion Catherine Bell challenges some of the assumptions that […] http://bethsholomsf.org/bo-exodus-101-1316-3/ Continue Reading...

Leilah Goode’s Bat Mitzvah

Hello. My name is Leilah Goode. I am a seventh grader at Claire Lilienthal Middle School. I love playing soccer, going to pop concerts, watching movies, and hanging out with my friends in addition to exploring all that San Francisco has to offer. In Parashat Bo (“Go!”), God commands Moses to “Go to Pharaoh” to […] http://bethsholomsf.org/leilah-goodes-bat-mitzvah/ Continue Reading...

Vayigash — Genesis 44:18 – 47:27

Great change happens with the smallest of steps. That change is captured poignantly in this week’s opening verse, when Judah selflessly pleads for the release of his brother, Benjamin: “Then Judah went up to [Joseph] and said: ‘Please, my lord…’” (Genesis 44:18). This is the dramatic moment where Judah is called upon to facilitate the […] http://bethsholomsf.org/vayigash-genesis-4418-4727-3/ Continue Reading...

Noah — Genesis 6:9-11:32

“Who is like you Who could reach you Who has seen Who has been …When you ride a cherub And glide on the wind And wander through thunder And move within storms Making your way through the waters…“ The liturgical poet Yannai here imagines the divine as controlling the universe, “from the sky to the […] http://bethsholomsf.org/noah-genesis-69-1132-3/ Continue Reading...

Ha’azinu — Deuteronomy 32:1 – 52

American economist Milton Friedman (1912-2006) once remarked that “universities exist to transmit knowledge and understanding of ideas and values to students, not to provide entertainment for spectators or employment for athletes.” Similarly, the task of Mosaic leadership is to transmit the knowledge and understanding of ideas and values for community-building. This being so, it’s worth […] http://bethsholomsf.org/haazinu-deuteronomy-321-52-2/ 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...

Ki Tetzei — Deuteronomy 21:10 – 25:19

German Jewish thinker Hannah Arendt once remarked: “Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.“ How do we discern the difference between hypocrisy and evil? And then how do we confront evil in life? For modern people, […] http://bethsholomsf.org/ki-tetzei-deuteronomy-2110-2519-2/ Continue Reading...