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Tag Archives: Judaism

Chukat — Numbers 19:1 – 22:1

“The fate of our times is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization and, above all, by the disenchantment of the world.” I am often struck by the prescience of 19th-century German sociologist Max Weber, author of the influential The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904-05). Notwithstanding the “disenchantment” that ensues in modernity with the […] http://bethsholomsf.org/chukat-numbers-191-221-3/ Continue Reading...

Negotiating Jerusalem

Buy your tickets for our upcoming Achshav Yisrael program! “Negotiating Jerusalem” will take place on Sunday, March 11, 2018, 3 – 5 p.m., in Koret Hall. Jerusalem is so many things to so many people. With Donald Trump’s recent announcement that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the spotlight was once again on […] http://bethsholomsf.org/negotiating-jerusalem/ 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...

Va’eira — Exodus 6:2-9:35

The self-revelation of the divine to Moses is a unique moment in our spiritual history and changes the face of monotheism forever. Emboldened and empowered, Moses and Aaron return before Pharaoh, demanding in the divine name, “Let my people go, so that they may serve Me in the wilderness.” Pharaoh’s recalcitrance leads to the moment […] http://bethsholomsf.org/vaeira-exodus-62-935-3/ Continue Reading...

Simon Crosby’s Bar Mitzvah

Hello. My name is Simon Crosby. I’m in seventh grade at A.P. Giannini Middle School. I am in the school band, and I enjoy playing bassoon and trumpet. I also like soccer, disc golf, and tennis. I’m excited in both an excited way and a nervous way about my bar mitzvah. Preparing for my bar […] http://bethsholomsf.org/simon-crosbys-bar-mitzvah/ Continue Reading...

Shemot — Exodus 1:1-6:1

To discover the nature of being human, there are those moments in life when you have to leave the known and venture into the unknown. The story is told about Prince Siddhartha who discovers the true nature of the human condition during an excursion outside the palace walls. In leaving the comfort of the palace, […] http://bethsholomsf.org/shemot-exodus-11-61-3/ Continue Reading...

Vayeira — Genesis 18:12–2:24

To reach the place of infinite earthly delight – that is the true destination of almost any traveler. The essentials that were once needed for any journey and are nowadays taken for granted appear to be alluded to in this week’s reading. “Abraham planted a tamarisk [eshel] at Be’er Sheva and invoked the divine name there […] http://bethsholomsf.org/vayeira-genesis-1812-224/ Continue Reading...

Lech Lecha — Genesis 12:1–17:27

How often have you taken advantage of a last minute travel deal? Today, it may feel good not to know where you will travel until the very last minute; it allows you to discover some new, exotic destination at a great rate. In the ancient Near Eastern mind, however, that same sense of journeying without […] http://bethsholomsf.org/lech-lecha-genesis-121-1727-3/ Continue Reading...

Yom Kippur — Leviticus 16:1 – 34

What is the real difference between love and compassion? Judaism teaches us that love (ahavah) is the inner side of compassion (chesed). Or we could imagine it this way: chesed is “the Love Supreme” above that fuels and fires the ahavah of “the Love Below,” that which is shared between human beings. Or we can […] http://bethsholomsf.org/yom-kippur-leviticus-161-34/ Continue Reading...

Nitzavim / VaYelekh
Deuteronomy 29:9 – 31:30

American First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once duly remarked: “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes… and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.” Life is a series of choices. And sometimes having to make choices may not serve us well, even if it appears that […] http://bethsholomsf.org/nitzavim-vayelekh-deuteronomy-299-3130/ Continue Reading...