JLC Prayer for Our Country

Stuart Green and Jennifer Moses fly the colors on inauguration

Stuart Green and Jennifer Moses fly the colors on inauguration day.

Each week during JLC our students begin with community time led by Morah Lily. This week on Wednesday, following a historic inauguration we asked our JLC students to look towards the future and help create a prayer for our country. These are their beautiful worlds full of hope and light. Continue reading

Hope: Parashat Bo


Parashat Bo  
Exodus 10:1-13:16

After Moses instructs the Israelites concerning the rituals they must perform while staying in Egypt for the very last night of their servitude, he commands them to preserve these ritual acts for the future, for when the people will eventually enter their own Promised Land. Moses adds that it is not only the ceremonies that must be preserved, but it is crucial to be able to explain these rites to the following generations: “And you shall say, ‘This is a paschal sacrifice for the Eternal, for having protectively hovered over the homes of the Children of Israel in Egypt while smiting the Egyptians, and saving our homes.’” The verse further reports that, on hearing these words, “the people kneeled and bowed down.” (Ex. 12:27)
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Infamy at Wannsee

Attendees of Conference

Today,  January 21, marks the 69th anniversary off the Wannsee Conference. Wannsee was a small suburban area of Berlin known for its two lakes and forests. Many members  of royalty had built castles in the area and, in more modern times, prominent wealthy Berliners built mansions. A prominent recreational area, several events from the 1936 Olympics were held in its woods and on its golf course.

The area is most well known, however, for what came to be called the Wannsee Conference held on January 20, 1942.  Nazi officials from Interior, Justice, Propaganda, Occupied Eastern Territories and 4-year plan— though not Hitler, Goebbels, or Himmler- met at the Wannsee Villa to formulate the final solution to the Jewish problem and to  definitely establish who was a Jew and who was a mischling  (mixed).

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Crocodiles: Parashat Va’era 


Parashat Va’era 
Exodus 6:2-9:35

Moses and Aaron confront Pharaoh again. Aaron throws down his staff and it turns into a crocodile. Apparently, this is meant to impress Pharaoh with Aaron’s and Moses’ God-given powers. Yet Pharaoh is not impressed at all. Instead he summons his magicians and they conjure up staffs and they throw them down and their staffs also turn into crocodiles. Even though Aaron’s staff swallows up the others, Pharaoh in unmoved. (Ex. 7:8-13)
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Online events to entertain, educate, and nourish

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Mondays @ 1 pm
Return to Torah Hosted By: Judaism Unbound

This weekly class is an opportunity to learn from Richard Elliott Friedman, author of the bestselling, most-assigned book on the Bible, Who Wrote the Bible?

Our new knowledge of Torah in this extraordinary generation, thanks to archaeology and new understandings in almost every area of the Bible, can be a comfort in this moment – and for long into the future. Continue reading

Raised This Light: Parashat Sh’mot


Parashat Sh’mot 
Exodus 1:1-6:1

We embark on the story of Israel as a people by being introduced to a series of courageous women. It is only through their bravery and decency that we exist. I have written before of the righteous midwives who defy Pharaoh’s orders to kill all Hebrew male babies. (See Sparks 2012) They are not only courageous; they are also wily enough to talk their way out of trouble when Pharaoh confronts them. (Ex. 1:15-21)
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Celebrate Hebrew

Hebrew eliezerEliezer Ben-Yehuda, the father of modern Hebrew, was born on January 7, 1858 in what is now Belarus. Like many Jewish boys of his time, he was raised to be a rabbi and scholar of traditional Jewish texts. However, he was exposed to the Enlightenment’s modern languages and thought and eventually moved to Palestine. There he put into practice his goal of reviving Hebrew as a spoken language which, he felt, would replace Yiddish and other immigrant languages and unite the Jewish residents of Palestine. Continue reading

Raise Them Up: Parashat Vay’hi


Parashat Vay’hi 
Genesis 47:28-50:26

The last verses of this last portion of the book of Genesis have Joseph, on his deathbed, making his brothers swear that, ‘As the Almighty will surely remember you, you must take my bones up with you from this place.’ The narrator then reports that Joseph died and was embalmed. The book closes with a dark image of closure: ‘And he was placed into a coffin chest in Egypt.’ (Gen. 50:25-26)

But, of course, this is only an apparent image of closure, since we are meant to wonder whether Joseph’s brothers or their descendants will remember Joseph’s bones and retrieve them when redemption arrives.
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Dreaming Again: Parashat Vayigash


Parashat Vayigash 
Genesis 41:1-44:17

Joseph’s brothers, right before they attacked him and disposed of him, had called him, derisively, “The Dream Master.” (Gen. 37:19) But Joseph was not the first in his family to be overtaken with dreams. His father Jacob was perhaps even more rightly entitled to that title. (And perhaps this was one reason – the clear inheritance by Joseph of his father’s qualities – that added to the brothers’ resentment.)
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