Community Blog


Where is our strength hiding?
January 16, 2019

Where is our strength hiding?

Shalom Chaverim— This week’s Torah portion, Beshallach (Exodus 13:17-17:16) includes perhaps the most well known and dramatic moments of all biblical narratives—the parting of the Sea of Reeds. The moment is supremely anxious: the fleeing...


The Jewish Superpower
December 26, 2018

The Jewish Superpower

Shalom Chaverim— This week’s Torah portion, Shemot (Exodus 1:1-6:1), launches us into a new reality (biblically) and a new year (in reality).  Our reading sets into motion the series of fortunate and unfortunate events that...


Endings and beginnings, blessings and mixed blessings.
December 19, 2018

Endings and beginnings, blessings and mixed blessings.

Shalom Chaverim— This week’s parasha, Vayechi (Genesis 47:28-50:26), is about endings and beginnings, blessings and mixed blessings, fathers and sons. It depicts the end-of-life stories of Jacob/Israel and Joseph; it closes out Genesis, the first...


Gam zu l’tovah -- even-this-is-for-the-good
November 29, 2018

Gam zu l’tovah — even-this-is-for-the-good

Shabbat Shalom Chaverim— The teaching gam zu l’tovah/even-this-is-for-the-good emphasizes that there are things in the world that are nistar/hidden and nigleh/revealed. Often, we are experiencing something in its nistar state, passing judgment on it, and...


November 16, 2018

Everything cocooned must transform and emerge.

Shabbat Shalom Chaverim— This week’s Torah portion, Va’yeitzei (Genesis 28:10-32:3), follows Jacob on his journey away from home and hearth, and into his life as an independent adult. On the first night, he finds himself...


Standing at the Crossroads
November 09, 2018

Standing at the Crossroads

Shabbat Shalom Chaverim— This week’s Torah portion, Toledot (Genesis 25:19-28:9) begins with another of our Jewish ancestors’ struggles with fertility. But finally, after pleading with God, Isaac and Rebecca do conceive—with twins. “And the children...


The genderqueerness of our sacred forebears.
October 26, 2018

The genderqueerness of our sacred forebears.

Genesis 18:1-22:24 Shabbat Shalom Chaverim— This week’s Torah portion includes the Akeida, the “Binding” of Isaac.  Here’s the basic set up: Abraham and Sarah have been on a spiritual quest with their family and posse....


Turn Our Mourning Into Dancing
October 12, 2018

Turn Our Mourning Into Dancing

Shabbat Shalom Chaverim, This week’s Torah portion, Noach (Genesis 6:9 - 11:32) is focused on the mythic account of a massive, worldwide, completely devastating flood. What makes this flood particularly terrible, aside from its widespread...


Celebrating abundance, preparing for scarcity
September 28, 2018

Celebrating abundance, preparing for scarcity

Shabbat Shalom Chaverim, Wow, I’m still bobbling around in the afterglow of the Days of Awe, stumbling in and out of random sukkot, and my olfactory nerves are pulsing with etrog’s intoxicating perfume.  Tis the...


jewish high holidays berkeley chochmat halev
September 14, 2018

Shedding the weight of our habits

Shabbat Shalom, Chaverim— It’s Shabbat Shuva this week, the Shabbat of turning, the first Shabbat of the new year, the Shabbat of facing, making, and accepting change. This time of year is set aside to...


chochmat halev svara
August 09, 2018

Teasing apart the sweet from the bitter

Shabbat Shalom Chaverim— This week’s Torah portion, Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17) begins with one of the great truths of life: “Look, today I am setting in front of you blessing and curse…..” Deut. 11:26 What else...


June 15, 2018

Your Unique Holiness

This week’s Torah portion, Korach (Numbers 16:1-18:32) details the first of a series of organizational tests for Moses. It begins when Korach, a well-heeled Israelite whose pedigree places him in the priestly class, contests Moses...


Between the mundane and the miraculous
February 08, 2018

Between the mundane and the miraculous

Shabbat Shalom, Chaverim— This weeks Torah portion, Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1-24:18) begins with a continuation of the commandments that were initiated with the famous ten last week. To review, Mount Sinai is smoking and rumbling, shofar...


October 14, 2016

Maggid’s musings: The week Shabbat Ha’azinu

Shabbat Shalom Chaverim, This week’s Torah portion, Ha’azinu, is the penultimate parasha in our annual reading cycle. It marks an extraordinary transformation in Moses—a shift that is signaled even in the way the text is...