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Peace Parsha: If Not News, Then What?

Rabbi Jonah Rank is the Maskil ("Teacher of tradition") at Shaar Shalom Synagogue in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Rabbi Rank was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2015. When the humorist Dave Barry released his book Dave Barry’s Bad Habits: A 100% Fact-Free Book in 1987, he might not have foreseen that, just three decades later, the United States would have become such a major player in ...

Peace Parsha: A Calculation of Suffering

 Rabbi Rachel Miller Solomin is a Jewish educator, writer, life coach, and mother living and working in California’s Silicon Valley. She was ordained from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2001. Several years ago, on a bright California Sunday, I had a car accident involving pedestrians.  By maneuvering my car, I had avoided hitting them head-on. The family involved incurred only ...

Peace Parsha: Transforming Guilt into Peace

Rabbi Justin Goldstein was ordained in 2011 by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, is a 2012-2013 Rabbis Without Borders Fellow and has served Congregation Beth Israel in Asheville NC since 2014. Often dismissed as irrelevant or boring, Parashat Tzav details some of the ritual procedures for the sacrificial offerings which were made in the ...

Peace Parsha: Purim - A fantasy of our worst selves

 Rabbi Esther L. Lederman is Director of Communities of Practice at the Union for Reform Judaism.  She previously served as the associate rabbi at Temple Micah in Washington, DC.   As children, we were given a sanitized ending:  Queen Esther and Mordecai save the Jews from destruction at the hands of Haman and his minions.  Much merriment ensues, with food and drink. Mishloach manot ...

Peace Parsha: Targeting Innocents for the Crimes of Others

By APN's intern, Hannah Ehlers In the last Torah portion of Genesis, Jacob lies on his deathbed. Frail yet determined, he summons his twelve sons, along with Joseph’s children, to his bedside. To some he offers praise and blessings, while others receive chastisement. Two sons in particular, Simeon and Levi, are rebuked for their violent tendencies. Jacob exclaims, “Simeon and Levi are a pair; ...

Peace Parsha: How the world is, and how we must be

Rabbi Joshua Gutoff is Director of the MA in Jewish Education program at Gratz College. He has rabbinic ordination and an EdD from the Jewish Theological Seminary. We turn to the Torah, many of us, for wisdom.   And this week when we turn to the parsha, this is what we find:  a command to the Israelites that, when encountering an enemy town, to enslave all the inhabitants.  Unless they put up ...

Peace Parsha: Tisha B'Av - Kindness, Justice and Righteousness

Rabbi Seth Goldstein has served as the rabbi of Temple Beth Hatfiloh in Olympia, WA since 2003, after graduating from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. He is a member of the board of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, served as a co-chair of an RRA task force examining issues of Jewish status and identity, is a participant in the Clergy Leadership Program of the ...

Peace Parsha: In Support of a Fearless Israel

Raysh Weiss holds a PhD in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies from the University of Minnesota and is currently entering her final year of Rabbinical School at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She is the founder and director of YentaNet, a pluralistic matchmaking organization, currently serves on the Board of Directors of T'ruah, and is a co-editor of the progressive Jewish ...

Peace parsha: Broken open, and not apart

Rabbi Esther L. Lederman is the associate rabbi of Temple Micah, in Washington, DC.  She travelled to Israel this December.    Before I left for Israel on a quick trip this past December, I told a colleague, “I am going to have my heart broken.”  It had been six years since I had visited.  Way too long, in my opinion.  So off I went, expecting to return even more depressed about the ...

Peace Parsha: If this is so, then why am I?

"The children struggled in her womb, and she said, 'If this is so, then why am I?'" -- Genesis 25:22 We read in this week's Torah portion that even in the womb, Rebecca's children Jacob and Esau quarreled. And their perennial struggle brought her to an existential outcry: if this is so, then why am I? If this is the only possibility for my sons, she seems to be saying, then my motherhood -- even ...

Peace Parsha: Behar-Bechukotai - Is Violence Inevitable?

by Rabbi Mark Asher Goodman If you follow God's commandments, you will have peace (shalom) in the land of Israel. And you will dwell in security (la'vetach). And you when you chase your enemies, they will fall by your sword. What kind of 'peace' and 'security' is it if violence is still seemingly ensured?

Peace Parsha: The Character that Creates Peace

By Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater from the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center in Pasadena, CA. I had the honor of hearing Israeli President and elder statesman Shimon Peres last week in Los Angeles. Coming off a week where the tenor for war against Iran was being ramped by Prime Minister Netanyahu and in the halls of AIPAC, it was refreshing to hear President Peres say that diplomacy is always the ...

Peace Parsha: Becoming Truly Free

Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg is the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek ("house of peace/pursuers of justice!") in Chester, CT. She serves as co-chair of Rabbis for Human Rights-North America and is a member of the Rabbinic Cabinet of JStreet. She is also an alumna of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality.

Peace Parsha: There shall not be in your midst the plague of the destroyer

Rabbi Amy Eilberg is the first woman ordained as a Conservative rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Rabbi Eilberg directs interfaith dialog programs in Minneapolis/St. Paul, and is deeply engaged in peace and reconciliation efforts in connection with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as with issues of conflict within the Jewish community. She is at work on a book on ...

Peace Parsha: Moses as Israel

Shaul Magid is the Jay and Jeannie Schottenstein Professor of Modern Judaism at Indiana University/Bloomington. He is also the rabbi of the Fire Island Synagogues in Sea View, NY. His new book American Post-Judaism: Identity and Renewal in a Postethnic Society will be published next year with Indiana University Press.

Peace Parsha: Jacob's Journey to Wholeness

Peace Parsha is a new feature of the Americans for Peace Now website. Every week, we will explore the Torah reading and learn how it is relevant to the ongoing effort to find peace in Israel. In this week's Torah portion, Vayishlach, the Torah sets up a dramatic moment: Jacob is about to meet with his brother Esau after many years. Fearing that his brother is still angry about his stolen ...

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