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

Building with God in the Wilderness: A Theology of Just and Loving Communities

Building with God in the Wilderness: A Theology of Just and Loving Communities

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Hilly Haber

jemerman January 12, 2022
In a path-breaking1993 work entitled Sisters in the Wilderness: the Challenge of Womanist God-Talk, Delores Williams sets forth a theology of the wilderness centered in the experiences of African American women. Building from the particular and speaking with universal resonance, Williams identifies a wilderness ethic grounded in the values of: survival, relationship and resilience. For Williams, the wilderness is a place of both struggle and possibility - a place in which Hagar, a slave cast out of her home, is rescued by God so that she can ultimately mother her own nation into being.

The Radical Lessons of Revelation

The Radical Lessons of Revelation

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Hilly Haber

jemerman January 5, 2022
The revelation at Sinai was a radical act: our Sages understood it as such, and contemporary scholars are still grappling with its implications. Its radical nature was apparent not only in the public and communal nature of the revelation, but also in the ways in which God's presence was described, and in the strikingly novel relationship that God creates with Israel.

On the Other Hand

Reform Jewish Movement Condemns Senate’s Failure to Protect Voting Rights

The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy. We are deeply dismayed that last night, a slim majority of United States senators, including the entire Republican caucus and two Democrats, failed to protect that right by refusing to reform the outdated filibuster that excludes the minority voice from being heard, upholds systemic racism and white supremacy, and limits the right to vote for all Americans.

Reform Jewish Movement Welcomes Biden-Harris Administration’s Commitment to Voting Rights

“We are grateful for the administration’s re-affirmation of support for pivotal legislation that will end discriminatory voting practices and allow every voice to be heard, and every vote to be counted. Now, it is time for the White House to turn their words into action and use their full power to compel the Senate to enact filibuster reform to ensure the passage of the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act."

RJ Blog Social Justice

Taking a Breath for Life: URJ’s Actions to Build Resilience

Taking a Breath for Life: URJ’s Actions to Build Resilience jemerman January 19, 2022

On Tu Bishvat we celebrated trees and a season of new growth. I've been doing lots of thinking about trees, as I frequently do, and the role they play in providing oxygen for the planet. At the Union of Reform Judaism, we provide oxygen to our communities by creating compassionate spaces for our participants to grow and thrive. We can respond to current and future challenges by fostering resilience that reflect our Jewish values.

For Colleyville, Texas

For Colleyville, Texas jemerman January 18, 2022

This is a prayer of healing for the hostages freed from Congregation Beth Israel, Colleyville, Texas, as well as the congregation and the community.

RJ Blog Jewish Life

How to Make Your First Tu BiShvat Seder Meaningful and Fun

How to Make Your First Tu BiShvat Seder Meaningful and Fun kbkaput January 3, 2022

As I thought about what would be involved if we did our own Tu BiShvat seder, it seemed interesting and fun. Tasting lots of fruits? Marking a time to appreciate, mindfully and respectfully, trees and the earth? Drinking wines and grape juices? Yes, please.

Why We Need a “Spiritual Co-conspiratorship” for Justice

Why We Need a “Spiritual Co-conspiratorship” for Justice jstern July 12, 2021

During the 2020 uprising for Black lives, Yehudah was the lead organizer of the 40 Days of Teshuvah action that created a space of mourning the destruction of Black communities and crying out to the Heavens for spiritual co-conspiratorship in the fight for racial justice.

RJ Blog Practice

The URJ Reflection Project: Go Deeper on “The Spiritual”

The URJ Reflection Project: Go Deeper on “The Spiritual” kbkaput August 15, 2021

As part of the URJ Reflection Project, a new set of offerings and experiences for the High Holidays in a time of social distance, we’ve also developed three short essays that allow you to go deeper into the essence of Jewish wisdom that grounds these rituals.

Our Needs Are a Gift of God

Our Needs Are a Gift of God jstern May 26, 2021

This prayer from Birkot HaShachar, the traditional morning blessings, reminds us to be grateful when we awake for every day.

RJ Blog Learning

Taking a Breath for Life: URJ’s Actions to Build Resilience

Taking a Breath for Life: URJ’s Actions to Build Resilience jemerman January 19, 2022

On Tu Bishvat we celebrated trees and a season of new growth. I've been doing lots of thinking about trees, as I frequently do, and the role they play in providing oxygen for the planet. At the Union of Reform Judaism, we provide oxygen to our communities by creating compassionate spaces for our participants to grow and thrive. We can respond to current and future challenges by fostering resilience that reflect our Jewish values.

“Treat the Earth well. It was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children”

“Treat the Earth well. It was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children” jemerman January 11, 2022

The upcoming holiday of Tu BiShvat -- the birthday of the trees - brings back a memory of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. In the museum is an enormous cross-section of a giant sequoia tree. Standing before it is a sublime experience. The cross-section overwhelms you with its sheer size, inspiring questions about the size of the tree it was cut from.

RJ Blog Jewish Holidays

Why Israel’s Next Government Gives Me Hope

Why Israel’s Next Government Gives Me Hope jstern June 15, 2021

On Sunday, Israel’s Knesset narrowly voted in Israel’s 36th government with Naftali Bennett as the nation’s 13th prime minister, unseating the incumbant Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Ethical Conundrum of a Jewish and Democratic State

The Ethical Conundrum of a Jewish and Democratic State jstern June 8, 2021

When the State of Israel was established in 1948, its secular founders envisioned a nation that would be both Jewish and attuned to the values of liberal democracy. They were confident that a country with an overwhelming Jewish majority could maintain a Jewish character and ensure civic equality for all its inhabitants.

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