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Parashat Ha’Azinu | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Amanda Gluckich – Milk and Honey Farm – Boulder, CO In this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Ha’Azinu, we learn that the people of Israel, who have been wandering the desert for forty years after leaving Egypt, are about to enter the Holy Land that has been promised to them by God. Moses, who is not allowed to continue into the Holy Land due to previous transgressions, is preparing to sing a song to the people of Israel. The Torah portion, or parsha, is virtually entirely made up of song verses. Moses’s song speaks of the intergenerational tragedies and triumphs of the people of Israel, and even articulates the future to some degree. Moses sings of the people of Israel’s many struggles to accept one God, and of all of the things that God has done for them throughout the generations. Moses’s song brings everyone together and up to speed to explain why they are currently in the place they are in: about to be metaphorically born into the Land of Israel, promised to them by God. Moses begins: “Listen, O heavens, and I will speak! And let the earth hear the words of my mouth!” (Deut. 32:1). When reading […]

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Parashat Yitro | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Tzachi Flat, Oshman Family JCC – Palo Alto, CA In This week’s Torah portion, Yitro, Moses tells his stepfather Jethro the story of the Israelites escape from Egypt. Jethro is very pleased with the story and recites a prayer of gratitude, even though he was not with them in Egypt. Jethro notices Moses dealing with a great deal of the challenges in the group, and advises him to create a council that will help balance the work between the community. After the council is in place and the society is self-governing, Moses is able to go off to his own land. As a JOFEE fellow I can relate to this Torah portion as there are a great many challenges and roadblocks on the path to humans maintaining a healthier, more sustainable planet. Taking on a task of this proportion would be extremely challenging for one person, or even a small group of people to tackle on their own. It is as if we as JOFEE fellows are the council, and our task is to create positive change while educating the community and inspiring them to take similar steps. I am reminded of the Pirkei Avot quote “Do not separate […]

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