Blog

Blessing: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Posted by Rabbi Shohama Wiener |

 In this season of gift giving it is good to remember that one of the best gifts we can bestow on others does not cost money or come wrapped in gift paper with ribbons. It is the gift of a blessing- a prayer for well being. In Genesis 48:15-16, Jacob-- now called Israel-- blesses Joseph’s two sons with the following words:

Text Your Thanksgivukkah Knowledge: Reb Goldie's Dreidel Quiz

Posted by Rabbi Goldie Milgram |
My students ask me, "Rabbi Goldie, just what gives?
Is celebrating Thanksgivukkah really the way a good Jew lives?"

There is only one way I know to decide:
By the dreidel's spin, you'll have to abide.

Here is how it works, you should pardon the mention,
of these Five Thanksgivukkah Academic Spin K'vetch-tions:

R' Shohama -- Struggling with Ourselves and with God

Posted by Rabbi Shohama Wiener |

 Life is never simple, and the struggle to overcome fear and be a better person is a continuing journey of wrestling so that holy Light may prevail.  We see this clearly in the well known story of Jacob wrestling with the angel.

On the Shoulders of Imperfect Giants

Posted by Rabbi Shohama Wiener |

How many of us have a Hebrew name somewhere in our family line like Avraham, Sarah,Yitchak (Isaac), Rivkah (Rebecca), or Ya’akov(Jacob), Rachel or Leah? The Torah portions in Genesis, from Lech Lcha through Vayeishev, tell the stories of our Avot and Imahot, our Fathers and Mothers in Israel. They received G!d's blessings for themselves and for the people Israel, and carried our Jewish heritage through many times that were challenging.

G!d & Community as our Shield & Protector

Posted by Rabbi Shohama Wiener |

 

Our forefather Avram had his name changed by G!d to Av-raham, father of multitudes.  His life was not easy. At age 75 he heard G!d telling him to leave his home, and that “in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Gen. 12:3)

Heeding the call he travelled to Canaan where there was a famine, then down to Egypt where his wife was nearly taken by the Pharoah, then back to Canaan. There his beloved nephew Lot was captured and he had to battle against five kings to free him.

Call for story submissions

Posted by Rabbi Goldie Milgram |

The Many Lights of Torah

Posted by Rabbi Shohama Wiener |

Our Torah begins with light.  We might ask: what kind of light begins in primordial darkness?  Our Torah begins with the Creation.  As we read in Genesis 1:

In the Beginning (Bereishit), G!d created the heavens and the earth…. And G!d said,  ”Let there be light.” And there was light.  And G!d saw the light, that it was good.

The Magic Gourd, A Story for Sukkot

Posted by Rabbi Goldie Milgram |

Happiness is sharing a The Magic Gourd: A Story for Sukkot by Debra Gordon Zaslow from Mitzvah Stories: Seeds for Inspiration and Learning. Chag sameach to all!

R' Shohama on "Inviting Your Personal Ushpizin (Spiritual Guests) for Sukkot"

Posted by Rabbi Shohama Wiener |

One Sukkot tradition that I love and is not so well known is the practice of inviting guests who are only in spirit.  Traditionally we invite Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and other Biblical male ancestors, one each night. But we need not be limited to those ancestors or to the custom of inviting one each night.

Shohama contemplates "Yizkor for Pets"

Posted by Rabbi Shohama Wiener |

As Yom Kippur approaches our thoughts turn to remembering our loved ones,family and friends whose living presence in our lives we miss.