RJ Blog

L’hitraot, for Now...

After four years of bringing you a new episode nearly every week, this podcast is taking a little break. Listen to this episode to learn more about our hiatus and where to find us in the meantime.

The Antidote to Kvetching

Most of us today aren’t tasked with wandering through the desert, like the ancient Israelites were... but we still find plenty to kvetch about! What if, instead of focusing on small annoyances, we turned to community-building and togetherness? This episode first aired in May 2018.

URJ Youth

Try Anyway

Try Anyway

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin

jemerman September 23, 2022
We are nearing the end of the book of Deuteronomy. This week's Torah portion, Haazinu, consists mainly of a poem or a song that Moses sings to the people as he nears his death. Considering how hopeful the last few chapters have been, one might have expected that this poem would continue the same line of thinking. However, the poem is more fatalistic.

Growth and Decay

Growth and Decay

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin

jemerman September 20, 2022
There are parts of the Torah that could be classified as seeds or flesh. The seeds are the gems that are timeless, that enable generations to grow and ideas to be nurtured. The seeds sprout new possibilities and, ultimately, new life.

On the Other Hand

Remembering Rabbi Henry (Hank) F. Skirball, z”l

The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) mourns the passing of an influential leader and loyal friend, Rabbi Henry (Hank) F. Skirball, z"l.

Reform Jewish Leader Joins Interfaith Response to Cruel and Inhumane Immigration Tactics

Today, Barbara Weinstein, Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, joined a press conference with a range of faith leaders to call out the cruel and inhumane immigration tactics, initiated in recent weeks by Governors Greg Abbot (TX), Doug Ducey (AZ), and now Ron DeSantis (FL), transporting asylum seekers and other migrants to Washington, D.C., the New York metropolitan area, and now Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

RJ Blog Social Justice

Sharing the Challenges and Blessings of Being Jewish and New-ish

Sharing the Challenges and Blessings of Being Jewish and New-ish jemerman October 6, 2022

Our tradition teaches that once someone has converted to Judaism, they are as Jewish as a Jew by birth and we are not to speak of it again with them, or with anyone else. It should be as if they have always been Jewish. To not speak of it is to fully honor the person who chose Judaism by not making any distinctions between them and the born-Jewish members of our communities.

Our Beginnings, in Haiku

Our Beginnings, in Haiku jemerman October 3, 2022

in the beginning Oneness breathed us into life we are unity

RJ Blog Jewish Life

Grow a Good Citizen

Grow a Good Citizen sdolgov August 15, 2022

Here are some ways to to make a difference by engaging voters and children.

Two Out of Two

Two Out of Two jemerman February 15, 2022

As a graduate of both Tougaloo College and Jackson State University, the recent bomb threats to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are personal to me. Since January 2022, over a dozen HBCUs have received bomb threats; several of those threats were received on the first day of Black history month. The continuous attacks on institutions of higher learning; places of worship and individual attacks are a direct threat to our everyday existence.

RJ Blog Practice

Take a Tour of the Torah!

Take a Tour of the Torah! jemerman October 4, 2022

Torah usually refers to the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Running through these stories is the unique lens through which the Jewish people would come to view their world and their God.

Weaving Together Formal and Lived Jewish Education

Weaving Together Formal and Lived Jewish Education jemerman August 16, 2022

I'm a self-proclaimed book worm. Since I could read, my default setting has been to research anything new at the library before implementing it. However, adulthood has taught me that some of the best lessons are learned after acting and truly living, which is why Rabbi Yanklowitz's perspective so resonates with me. Even so, I always start new adventures by studying.

RJ Blog Learning

Rereading – and Reimagining – Sacred Story

Rereading – and Reimagining – Sacred Story jemerman October 3, 2022

"Tell me a story" is a constant refrain for those of us with children in our lives. Almost as often, when the last page is turned, the child looks up and asks, "again?" Sometimes, this is a joy. Sometimes, re-reading, and re-reading some more, becomes a burden.

Rebuilding After the Storms of Life: An Interview with Rabbi Joseph Meszler

Rebuilding After the Storms of Life: An Interview with Rabbi Joseph Meszler jemerman September 22, 2022

We sat down with Rabbi Joseph Meszler, author of "The Sukkah in the Storm: A Sukkot Story," to discuss the ways this story teaches children about strength, resilience, community, and asking for help.

RJ Blog Jewish Holidays

Keeping Family Close, Regardless of Distance

Keeping Family Close, Regardless of Distance jemerman September 21, 2022

As I boarded the plane to Israel in the summer of 2002 for my first year of rabbinical school at HUC in Jerusalem, my mother said, "Please, just don't meet an Israeli." As soon as the plane touched down at Ben Gurion airport, I knew that I was home. A few months later, I met that Israeli. From our first conversation, he understood that I was studying to be a rabbi, and I understood that he wanted to live only in Israel.

Shabbat Message: A Galvanizing Visit to Israel That Fills Me With Encouragement

Shabbat Message: A Galvanizing Visit to Israel That Fills Me With Encouragement urjadmin March 4, 2022

In meetings with the President of Israel, Isaac Herzog, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli, and Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid, we discussed the crisis in Ukraine, the future of the Kotel, ensuring more funding and rights for non-Orthodox Jews, combatting racism, and stopping extremist violence against Palestinians, in addition to other pressing issues.

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RJ Blog Israel

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