By Rabbi Alana Suskin
About them, the words of Jeremiah ring as true today as they did when they were spoken--"You entered and defiled My land."
Recently in Peace Parsha
By Rabbi Alana Suskin
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?
By Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb
The basic rules of kashrut - which animals we eat, and which we avoid (meat-milk strictures came later) - are outlined this week in Parshat Shemini, Leviticus 11. While some say that keeping kosher is a chok, a dictum, with no clear rationale, others place it among the mishpatim, righteous rules given for real reasons - with ethics, public health, peoplehood, and spiritual development among the common explanations.
by Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen
A new ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip enters its second week as Jews around the world examine Jacob and Esau's reconciliation in Parshat Vayeshlach. Truthfully, the passage feels a world away: Israel and Hamas did not run to each other in tearful rapprochement like Jacob and Esau. And the prospects of final status negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians - Fatah and Hamas both - seem as distant as Biblical history. But beneath the initial reading, this parsha helps us to strive for the ideal reconciliation while recognizing real negotiations can be less euphoric.
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 preferred option, that Israel is a nation that values and cherishes peace, and that the morals of our people, based on the Torah, call us to a higher purpose in life than political expediency.
The Rabbis always understood that the Torah is a document that must be interpreted. Throughout our history we have always understood that we cannot have direct access to God's meaning but are always bounded by the need to put it in human terms. Therefore, insisting that any particular meaning is the only meaning - whether it's about the borders or settling the land, how to dress, or anything else -- is dangerous.
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.
This week's Torah portion offers us a message about the need for us to act with courage and act decisively to prevent disaster
In this portion, we have many great inspiring moments: crossing the sea to escape Pharaoh, the song of the sea afterwards, the fight against the nation of Amalek. In fact, in this week's Torah portion, the Israelites see literally dozens of miracles - miracles come fast and furious, one after another.
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 Judaism and peacemaking.