Rabbi Rose

Yossi Klein HaLevi on the Six Day War

Yossi Klein HaLevi has a brilliant mind and thinks and speaks beautifully about Israel, its history and its future.   His book Like Dreamers is a powerful and very readable meditation on how the Six Day War changed Israel. Here is an hour-ish long interview he did about the fiftieth anniversary of the War and about…

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Anti-Semitism and American Leadership

My previous post was about anti-semitism in American culture.  The horrific desecration of Jewish cemeteries has led to some heartening support from people of good conscience (including a fundraiser initiated by two Muslim Americans).  However the bomb threats at JCCs, the spray painted swastikas, the appearance of Nazi salutes in the public square all remind…

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Antisemitism and This American Moment

Jews are quintessentially American. We  represent what is best about the United States.  Our great-grandparents or our grandparents came here seeking refuge from hatred and violence in Europe and elsewhere. Here in the United States we thrived.  To be sure this country was not paradise. We faced anti-Semitism and exclusion here as well. But we…

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Parshat Yitro: The Humility of Power (or How Not to Shake Hands)

Millions of Americans have spent much (too much) time this past week looking at videos of our President shaking hands with various leaders. One of the discourses that has popped up around the ‘handshake’ discussion is what it says about Donald Trump’s desire (or need) to establish dominance over others.  According to this argument, the alpha-male…

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Parshat Beshalach and the Power of Fear

This week we are reading Parshat Yitro but I’m not quite done with last week’s parshah (Beshalach).  The Chidushei HaRim, who I quoted in the previous post below, offers an incredibly powerful rereading of the Israelite’s confrontation of their leader. Juse when the Israelites think they have escaped Egypt, their oppressors chase after them. The situation…

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Parshat Beshalach and the Psychology of Powerlessness

Ibn Ezra asks a powerful question about the Torah portion this week. He wants to understand why the Israelites didn’t simply fight. He asks, “How could this large force of 600,000 people be scared by those pursuing them? Why wouldn’t they fight for their lives and the lives of their children?” He answers The Egyptians had been masters over…

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Parshat Beshalach: A Song of Our Shul

This week in the Torah we are introduced to the Song of the Sea (Shirat Ha-Yam), the magnificent poetry of physical liberation and spiritual transcendence.  Shirat HaYam comes at the moment of redemption, when the pursuing army of Pharaoh and Egypt have been stopped and HaShem’s redemptive power is revealed.  So important is this moment that…

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A note from the author (and a niggun)

Shalom – Heretofore I’ve been using this blog as a repository of my writing from the weekly email.  Going forward I’ll be using it to share texts, ideas, thoughts, reflections and various enthusiasms that may or may not be connected to the weekly parshah. So, for no particular reason, here is a lovely little niggun…

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Parshat Bo: Light in Darkness

We look forward to welcoming our Scholar in Residence Rabbi Melissa Weintraub this coming Shabbat for a fascinating weekend of learning.  The conversation will focus on Israel and how we can talk about it in ways that help bring us together instead of divide us.  To accomplish this we will have to learn to see…

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Parshat Va’eira

Shalom friends, Usually I write to you each week about the Torah portion. I ask your indulgence as I invite you to imagine a terrible scene. You hear a knock on your front door. Upon opening you are shocked to see an emaciated man with tears in his eyes, holding his beautiful six year old…

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    Talmud ClassTime: 7:30 pm
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