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  1. Coming Together - DT SCR Vayak'hel

    Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan once taught that religious identity is based on the “three Bs” of believing, belonging, and behaving. Most religious traditions begin with a foundation of believing. Christianity, for example, is based in large measure on a belief in Jesus as the son of God, and the savior of human souls, on beliefs having to do with the nature of sin and salvation, and heaven and hell. Based on those beliefs, to be a good Christian requires certain behaviors that are the natural expressions of those beliefs.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/coming-together

    Posted on: 2017/03/16 - 2:26pm

  2. Journalistic Ethics and Jewish Tradition - Audio

    It is a fascinating time in the world of journalism right now; some might say unprecedented. With fake news proliferating and an antagonistic relationship between the White House and the press, the role of the media and factual reporting has never seemed more urgent. Can Jewish values inform the practice of journalism and journalistic ethics? Check out this conversation between Rabbi David A.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/spoken-audio/jewish-tradition-and-journalistic-ethics-audio

    Posted on: 2017/03/23 - 8:00pm

  3. Vayikra DT SCR

    Sometimes I think that our Biblical ancestors were a lot wiser than we give them credit for. Every year when we get to this particular biblical book filled with graphic descriptions of animal sacrifices and offerings outlining in detail such rituals as the sprinkling of blood on the altar by the priests, along with a virtual “how to” manual for slaughtering a bull or a goat or a sheep and offering it up to God in a highly ritualized drama, most readers (myself included) begin to cringe.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/spiritual-tools-leviticus

    Posted on: 2017/03/23 - 8:14pm

  4. Drawing Close to Sacrifice - Vayikra DT Dannin

    When Adar comes in, our happiness is increased. But when Vayikra comes in, we feel as if the Promised Land of great stories and heroes is far, far away.

    Torah scholars through the centuries have tried to give us reasons to rejoice in these endless passages on the most minute and bloody details of sacrifices, but it is hard to say they have succeeded. Some point out that we are moving from a physical to a spiritual journey. After all, the book begins with the words “And God called.” Called - not just spoke.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/drawing-close-sacrifice

    Posted on: 2017/03/23 - 9:03pm

  5. Where Does the Spirit of Sacrifice Take Us - DT Vayikra Schein

    As we now begin our study of the book of Vayikra (Leviticus), we start with two observations:

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/where-does-spirit-sacrifice-take-us

    Posted on: 2017/03/23 - 9:10pm

  6. The Ascending Heart - DT Tzav Schein

    A colleague of mine once summarized the inner power of Judaism in the following way: Judaism challenges us “to ethicize ritual, and ritualize ethics.” Last week in this column we had a chance to explore what might be problematic in 20th/21st century Jewish life when ethics were stripped of ritual richness. This week, in parashat Tzav we see the opposite dynamic at work: the ethicizing of ritual.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/ascending-heart

    Posted on: 2017/03/28 - 3:52pm

  7. The Eternal Flame Within Us All - DT Tzav Berger

    A Jew walks into a synagogue and looks around. What can s/he expect to see? An area for prayer that includes an ark that contains at least one Torah; perhaps a table, a bima, in front of the ark as a focus area for the prayer service and the Torah reading; and finally, a light, either attached to the top of the ark in some way or hanging from the ceiling.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/eternal-flame-within-us-all

    Posted on: 2017/03/28 - 4:06pm

  8. Tzav: The Haftarah as Commentary - DT Kligler Tzav

    Va’yedaber YHVH el Moshe leimor: Tzav et Aharon v’et banav leimor: Zot torat ha’olah…

    And YHVH spoke to Moses, saying: Command Aaron and his sons thus: These are the instructions for the burnt offering…

    (Parashat Tzav, Leviticus 6:1-2)

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/tzav-haftarah-commentary

    Posted on: 2017/03/28 - 4:10pm

  9. Jewish Continuity and the origins of "Ben Hur" - DT Beshalakh

    This week's parasha — Beshalakh — is overloaded with material: the pursuit, the crossing of the Sea, the Song of the Sea , the Song of Miriam, the travels in the desert, and the battle with Amelek. It has two sets of bad role models at each end — in the beginning, Pharaoh and his advisors advise who him to pursue.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/jewish-continuity-and-origins-ben-hur

    Posted on: 2017/03/29 - 10:18am

  10. A D'var Torah for Tetzaveh - DT Eric Mendelsohn

    This Torah portion consists of the ordination of Aaron and his descendants as priests, vast descriptions of the vestments that the priest should wear, and the law of the half-shekel temple tax. This segment was probably rewritten in King Josiah's time, and again during the exile, and again upon the return to conform to what the priests were wearing at that time. Nothing in this parasha of direct relevance to Judaism, even to traditional Jewish practice, survived the destruction of the Temple, though Jews have chosen to dress the Torah in a mimicry of the priestly vestments.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/dvar-torah-tetzaveh

    Posted on: 2017/03/29 - 12:28pm

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