https://cbiberkshires.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/rac-feature-gun_violence_prevention.png 469 700 Rachel Barenblat https://cbiberkshires.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/CBI-Logo-70h-2.png Rachel Barenblat2022-05-24 21:37:532022-05-24 21:38:35After Uvalde
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I emerged from Shabbat to the news of the horrific shooting at a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo. The shooter was motivated by racial hatred and by the so-called “great replacement theory” – the belief that Jews are orchestrating a "replacement" of white Americans with people of color. That same argument has motivated many shootings in houses of worship and elsewhere.
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My son likes to say "We live in a society." It's our refrain. We need to be mindful of other people's needs, because we live in a society. If a kid is being bullied, it's good to stand up for them, because we live in a society. If a neighbor needs help carrying in the groceries, we offer to help, because we live in a society. We have obligations to each other, because we live in a society..
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Reb Zalman z"l — Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, of blessed memory; a formative teacher for me before and during rabbinical school — used to say that revelation is like the radio. God is the Source of the broadcast, and that broadcast is always streaming into creation. And as for us? We're radio receivers. We receive revelation on the levels to which we're attuned.
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This year April overlaps, more or less, with the lunar month of Nissan. At the full moon of Nissan we retell our people's core story as we celebrate Pesach, festival of our liberation. As it says in the traditional haggadah: We were slaves to a Pharaoh in Egypt, and the Holy One brought us forth from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm... Therefore it is incumbent on each of us to see ourselves as though we, ourselves, had been brought forth from Mitzrayim.
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This month brings Purim, our festival of costumes and masks and merriment. When my son was little, he used to confuse the names Yom Kippur and Purim. One year he was very excited to wear a costume to Yom Kippur... until I regretfully informed him that Yom Kippur was not the costumes and silliness holiday! He didn't know it, but he was following in the footsteps of our sages.
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"...The thing is, there's holiness in the not-knowing. There's holiness in opening ourselves to the uncertainties of wilderness. It's no coincidence that our ancestors hear God's voice most clearly in the wilderness. The midbar (wilderness) is where God m'daber (speaks) -- or at least, where we hear...."
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5782 is a Jewish leap year, which means we get an extra month. In most years, there is a single month of Adar. This year, we get two of them. The first one is happening right now....
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This week's Torah portion contains one of my favorite verses: "Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I might dwell among them." The Hebrew could also mean "within them." We build God a sanctuary so that God -- holiness, love, justice -- can dwell within us....
https://cbiberkshires.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/sinai-heart.jpg 413 550 Rachel Barenblat https://cbiberkshires.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/CBI-Logo-70h-2.png Rachel Barenblat2022-01-21 20:00:002022-01-21 20:00:00One heart: reading Yitro after Colleyville
In this week's Torah portion, Yitro, we receive Torah at Sinai. Tradition teaches that every Jewish soul that ever was and ever will be was present at Sinai. At Sinai we stood together as one. This week some of you have told me that…
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Dear Congregation Beth Israel community, There is nothing quite like the gut-wrenching feeling of emerging from the peace of Shabbat -- a day when some of us avoid the news or social media -- into the news of violence in a synagogue, again.…
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In this week's Torah portion, Bo, we are deep in the story of the plagues and traumas that unfolded as a prelude to yetziat Mitzrayim, our Exodus or going-forth from the Narrow Place. The Hasidic master known as the Me'or Eynayim teaches…