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Tag Archives: Torah

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...

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...

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...

Michael Ross’ Bar Mitzvah

Shalom. My name is Michael Ross. I’m an eighth grader at The Brandeis School of San Francisco and I am becoming a bar mitzvah this Shabbat, 11 Elul 5777. A bit about me: I love to play the electric guitar, and have been taking music lessons at The Blue Bear School of Music for six […] http://bethsholomsf.org/michael-ross-bar-mitzvah/ Continue Reading...

Shoftim — Deuteronomy 16:18 – 21:9

“Justice, justice shall you pursue.” (Deuteronomy 16:20) What does it take to pursue justice in an unjust world? I think of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who commented that “human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of […] http://bethsholomsf.org/shoftim-deuteronomy-1618-219-2/ 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...

Devarim — Deuteronomy 1:1 – 3:22

The great American boxer Muhammad Ali once remarked: “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.“ When we turn to the repetition of the Law through its namesake (the Book of Deuteronomy, from deutero, meaning “repetition,” and nomos, meaning “law”), we find […] http://bethsholomsf.org/devarim-deuteronomy-11-322-2/ Continue Reading...

Matot / Massei — Numbers 30:2 – 36:13

Parashat Matot The final of the four tangible ways of measuring the intangibles of intentional community that I learned with Dr. Sarale Shadmi-Wortman (Oranim College of Education) during the Rabin Bay Area Leadership Mission to Israel is Meaningfulness: “My uniqueness is an important resource and influence for the group.” As we read this week in […] http://bethsholomsf.org/matot-massei-numbers-302-3613/ 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...