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Tag Archives: spiritual practice

Renew Our Days: The High Holy Days Unbound

Shaliach tzibbur (prayer leader), musician, and teacher Aviva Chernick returns again to CBS to lead Renew Our Days: The High Holy Days Unbound, a special, two-part service occurring on the mornings of Rosh Hashanah Day 1 and Yom Kippur. Renew Our Days is a prayer lab, a non-halachic service (e.g., there is no Torah service) inspired by traditional liturgy, but not […] http://bethsholomsf.org/renew-our-days-the-high-holy-days-unbound-2/ 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...

Ekev — Deuteronomy 7:12 – 11:25

William Shakespeare once wrote, “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” If a beneficent Creator created the world, is it merely a question of thinking that accounts for why bad things happen to good people? We are disturbed by such moral calculus. This week’s reading of Parashat Ekev provides us […] http://bethsholomsf.org/ekev-deuteronomy-712-1125-2/ 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...

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-191-221-2/ Continue Reading...

Beha’alotecha – Numbers 8:1 – 12:16

How does ritual allow for the building of community practice? Ongoing commitment to communal ritual requires trust. Another key for community building I learned from Dr. Sarale Shadmi-Wortman (Oranim College of Education) while on the Rabin Bay Area Leadership Mission to Israel is Mutual Trust: The “willingness of individuals to join and help others without […] http://bethsholomsf.org/behaalotecha-numbers-81-1216-2/ Continue Reading...

Naso — Numbers 4:21 – 7:89

Another key community building lesson I learned from Dr. Sarale Shadmi-Wortman (Oranim College of Education) during the Rabin Bay Area Leadership Mission to Israel is the importance of Belonging – a sense that “this is mine,” a feeling of ownership and full inclusion in a group that allows “a community to become part of the […] http://bethsholomsf.org/naso-numbers-421-789/ Continue Reading...

Acharei Mot / Kedoshim – Leviticus 16:1 – 20:27

In conversation with a Jewish artist, I recently quipped that all artists must see their art as an offering to the Other Side. “What?!,” the artist exclaimed. In order to quell the energy of the negative forces in the universe, I explained, the mystical interpretation of many rituals, especially sacrifice, is understood as a way […] http://bethsholomsf.org/acharei-mot-kedoshim-leviticus-161-2027/ Continue Reading...

Tazria / Metzora – Leviticus 12:1-15:33

Debate still abounds as to how best translate the key terms tumah and taharah — signatures of Leviticus (see, for example, Chapter 12). Purity and impurity? Ritual fitness or exclusion? Death and rebirth? I continue to return to the inspired translation of theologian Rachel Adler, who teaches that tumah and taharah are best rendered as […] http://bethsholomsf.org/tazria-metzora-leviticus-121-1533/ Continue Reading...

Vayakhel — Exodus 35:1 – 38:20

While participating on the Rabin Community Building Mission to Israel, I came to realize just how much community is founded upon shared values and built upon shared practice. On this mission, I learned from Dr. Sarale Shadmi-Wortman from Oranim College in Eretz Yisrael, who taught that there are five lenses for measuring community building: (a) […] http://bethsholomsf.org/vayakhel-exodus-351-3820-2/ Continue Reading...