Thursday, December 30, 2004

Thinking about those in South East Asia

As we prepare for Shabbat, let our hearts, minds and tzedakah be turned to the peoples of South East Asia whose lives, families, homes and entire communities have been ripped apart. It has long been part of our tradition to give tzedakah just before Shabbat begins.

Where to give? There are many places where you can do it online and with ease:

Tsunami Help Blog lists specific requests and agencies who will recieve a package. (It is also a wonderful site for information.)

Union for Reform Judaism Asia Disaster Relief Fund

The Reform movement also has a beautiful prayer for the victims of the tsunami. The prayer includes,

...As we gather this Shabbat, we remember the loss of tens of thousands of God’s children killed this week in the Asian Tsunamis. We pray that the survivors find strength and comfort. We pray that those who search for missing loved ones be sustained with courage and hope. We pray that those who have lost so much have the fortitude to rebuild their lives. Loving and gracious God, who created the earth in all its fullness, grant them comfort, healing and peace. Be their help, in this, their time of need....May we be the voice that brings comfort and hope in the midst of the storm.

The Reform movement also has some resources on handling natural disaster.

The Conservative movement recommends giving through the American Joint Distribution Committee

May our prayers, hearts and resources send comfort, hope and help.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Conservative Movment Responsa Online

Through Zackary Sholem Berger I learned that the Conservative Movement's Rabbinical Assembly has finally put its responsa (also called teshuvot) online, a great contemporary halakhic resource.
Go and study!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Torah Commentary for the Week - Vayigash

This week's Torah portion continues the saga of Jacob. His sons, having learned the true identity of Phaoroh's Vizier, their brother Joseph, prepare to return to Canaan to tell Jacob that his son is still alive.

This portion is filled with family dynamics, travels and the process of change. One of the change-agents in the text is a woman by the name of Serach bat Asher, a "female Elijah" of sorts who helps the brothers tell Jacob about Joseph and later helps the fleeing Israelites find Joseph's bones.

Read Rabbi Sheridan's drash at Learn Torah With….

Learn, study, live and enjoy the last day of Hanukkah!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

An Auspicious Anniversary

Today is a significant anniversary for rabbis, especially female rabbis. On this day the first woman in North America worked as a rabbi. (Regina Jonas worked as a rabbi in Germany before she was murdered by the Nazis.)

Jewish Women's Archives gives the details on thier This Week in Jewish History site.

On December 12, 1950, Paula Ackerman became the interim "spiritual leader" of Temple Beth Israel in Meridian, Mississippi after her husband, who was the congregation's rabbi, passed away. In 1919, Paula Herskovitz had married Rabbi William Ackerman. As a rebbitzin, Paula Ackerman was an active partner, not only teaching in the Hebrew school and helping out with the sisterhood, but also taking her husband's place in the pulpit whenever he was absent or ill. Ackerman was also a member of the board of the Reform movement's National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods (NFTS) and chairman of NFTS's National Committee on Religious Schools.

Read the rest of the story here.

Formal ordination of women as rabbis by accredited and recognized rabbinical schools began in 1972 when Hebrew Union College ordained Rabbi Sally Priesand. (Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1973 and Jewish Theological Seminary in 1985.)

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Hag Urim Sameach

Happy Hanukkah!

May these days be filled with light, joy and pride for you and yours.

The many ways to spell Hanukkah].)
Huge collection of Hanukkah resources at My Jewish Learning.
How to light the candles
Hanukkah service for the home
Text studies on Hanukkah.
Hanukkah and hunger, connecting our celebration with those in need.

Hanukkah music from around the world.

Hanukkah Food (a.k.a - the fried food festival)
Sufganiyot (Thanks Rinat for a link to the picture.)
Sufgagniyot recipe
Hundreds, if not thousands, of latke recipes (quite a few of which I made last year - yummmmm.)

Friday, December 03, 2004

Torah Commentary for the Week - Vayeshev

Torah commentary for the week is back. This week's Torah portion is Vayeshev, beginning the saga of Joseph which will continue through the next 4 portions. Rabbi Sharon Mars of Univerity of North Carolina Hillel examines Joseph's character, specifically is he righteous? Her drash is titled Joseph: Technicolor Tzadik? The complex character of Joseph raises questions about what it means to be righteous.

Go, learn and have a shabbat of peace and blessing.