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Tag Archives | JOFEE

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

by Brittany Feldman – Hazon – Detroit, Michigan This week’s Torah Portion, Vayeira, discusses circumcision, birth, destruction, disobedience, and devotion. With so many themes in one portion, I’m choosing to focus on one that stood out to me the most, disobedience. In this particular text, “Abraham pleads with G‑d to spare the wicked city of Sodom. Two of the three disguised angels arrive in the doomed city, where Abraham’s nephew Lot extends his hospitality to them and protects them from the evil intentions of a Sodomite mob. The two guests reveal that they have come to overturn the place, and to save Lot and his family. Lot’s wife turns into a pillar of salt when she disobeys the command not to look back at the burning city as they flee.” I found the last line of this text to be extremely powerful in many ways. For me, it brought up thoughts about destruction and violence- if something bad happens should we choose to just move on with our lives without looking back? Although Lot’s wife disobeyed G-d’s command can her decision be justified? I started thinking about why she would choose to disobey this command. Was it just out of […]

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Parashat Netzavim | D’varim HaMakom: Choosing to Dig In

by Margot Sands – Ekar Farm – Boulder, Co Parasha Netzavim This week’s Torah portion, Netzavim, offers us the warning of risks and rewards that could result from engaging in Judaism. See for yourself in a snapshot of this week’s Torah portion: Moses delivers a message from G-d about the consequences that may be endured as a result of committing to the Jewish faith. What will happen if we do all that has been commanded of us as Jews? We are given the world. Protection. A full, happy life. Fruits of the earth, of the trees, of the next generation. G-d even offers to plot revenge against our enemies. However, the dark consequence bestowed upon us comes from an angry, spiteful G-d. If we don’t choose the faithful life, then we are choosing death and will perish by the wrath of G-d. As I read this Torah portion’s translation, I was stunned by the dichotomy of choices. We can choose the path of a devout Jew, or we can choose to suffer dire consequences. The reward: a gloriously full life following the word of G-d; The risk: taking a misstep in devotion and enduring G-d’s wrath. This contrast of choices […]

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Parashat Va’eira | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Liora Lebowitz, Jewish Farm School – Philadelphia, PA Power from the People: A Story of How Moshe and Aharon Led the Israelite Resistance The parsha Va’eira is the story of Moshe and Aharon’s attempts to free the Israelite people from under Pharoah’s leadership. The parsha begins with G!d reassuring Moshe of G!d’s covenant with the Israelite people and G!d’s promise to free them from the land of Egypt. Moshe tries to tell the Israelites about G!d’s promise but they cannot fathom this happening. G!d instructs Moshe to go to Pharoah himself to demand that the Israelites be freed, a task which Moshe feels inadequate to do partially due to his speech impediment. In the end, Aharon joins forces with Moshe and acts as his speaker, and together they go up against the power of Pharoah. G!d instructs Aharon and Moshe to cast Aharon’s staff before Pharoah and it will turn into a serpent, in order to provide a sign for Pharoah of G!d’s power. This is the first action which Moshe and Aharon take in order to persuade Pharoah to let the Israelites go. Throughout the rest of the parsha, Moshe and Aharon enact the first seven of the […]

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Truth, Light and Forgiveness | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Mira Menyuk, Pearlstone Retreat Center, Reisterstown, MD Truth, Light and Forgiveness Parashat Vayigash In a recent candle dipping program my co-worker Michal and I ran we led a discussion about the truth we want to bring forward during Hanukkah and the darkness of Winter.  Light is part of many Jewish rituals including Shabbat, Havdallah and Hannukah. Our Jewish tradition teaches that the ner tamid, an eternal flame, represents the divine, and the mysterious. One of the things we discussed prior to our program is how truth is often connected to light – revealing something in the darkness that was unseen before. Anyone who has ever played with a prism and watched light turn into a rainbow has seen this light come forward and witnessed a piece of our own divine mystery. Pearlstone Retreat Center – Mira Menyuk Speaking of rainbows (and truth), this week’s parsha Vayigash is about Joseph long after he has lost his multi colored robe and become indispensable to Pharaoh by interpreting a dream which kept Egypt from famine.  His brothers who once sold him into slavery, because of their father Jacob’s abject favoritism, have unknowingly come to him many times to beg for provisions.  On […]

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Renewing Our Connections – D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Bailey Lininger – Tamarak Camps, Ortonville MI Renewing our Connections Editor’s Note: Welcome to D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog! Most weeks throughout the year, you’ll be hearing from the JOFEE Fellows: reflections on their experiences, successful programs they’ve planned and implemented, gleanings from the field, and connections to the weekly Torah portion and what they’ve learned from their experiences with place in their host communities for the year. Views expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily represent Hazon. Be sure to check back weekly!  Parshat Mikeitz   At the beginning of December, the current cohort of JOFEE Fellows convened for the first time since our initial training seminar in June.  We traveled, some of us for just a few miles, others for thousands, and came together at the Leichtag Commons property in Encinitas, California.  There, we had the privilege of spending five days together.  We learned, collaborated, challenged and celebrated each other, and renewed our passion for the work that we are doing as JOFEE fellows across the country. This week, the Torah portion is Mikeitz, and it begins with a story of Joseph helping Pharaoh to interpret his dreams.  When reading this passage, I was struck by the sense […]

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Honoring the Darkness – D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Shani Mink – Pushing the Envelope Farm, Geneva IL & Pearlstone Retreat Center, Reisterstown MD Parshat Vayeishev Editor’s Note: Welcome to D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog! Most weeks throughout the year, you’ll be hearing from the JOFEE Fellows: reflections on their experiences, successful programs they’ve planned and implemented, gleanings from the field, and connections to the weekly Torah portion and what they’ve learned from their experiences with place in their host communities for the year. Views expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily represent Hazon. Be sure to check back weekly!  P.S. Interested in being or hosting a JOFEE Fellow? Applications for prospective fellows will continue to be reviewed as positions are available.   In this week’s Torah portion, Vayeishev, we find Jacob and his family settled in the land of Canaan.  After Rachel’s death, her firstborn son, Yoseph quickly becomes his father’s favorite and is given his famous Technicolor Dream-Coat.  The special treatment he receives from Jacob incites Yoseph’s brothers’ jealously which is only exacerbated by the retelling of dreams in which he is portrayed as ruling over them. While tending their father’s flocks, the sons of Jacob plot to kill their brother Yoseph, but the eldest, Reuven, implores them […]

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Returning Home | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Nicole Cruz, Peninsula JCC, Bay Area, CA Parashat Vayishlach Editor’s Note: Welcome to D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog! Most weeks throughout the year, you’ll be hearing from the JOFEE Fellows: reflections on their experiences, successful programs they’ve planned and implemented, gleanings from the field, and connections to the weekly Torah portion and what they’ve learned from their experiences with place in their host communities for the year. Views expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily represent Hazon. Be sure to check back weekly!  P.S. Interested in being or hosting a JOFEE Fellow? Applications for prospective fellows will continue to be reviewed as positions are available. JOFEE Fellows Nicole Cruz and Michael Farade complete the high ropes course during the Outward Bound portion of the JOFEE training in May 2016; Photo Josh Kleymeyer This week’s Torah portion, Vayishlach, centers on Jacob’s return to the Holy Land and his encounter with his estranged brother Esau who he has not seen in over 20 years. The night prior to their meeting, Jacob wrestles with a ‘man’ until day break. The next morning, battered from his nighttime confrontation, Jacob and Esau meet and peacefully part ways. While this Torah portion contains many important themes […]

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Open your heart, Open your hand | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Becky Adelberg, JCC Chicago Parashat Re’eh Editor’s Note: Welcome to D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog! This is our inaugural post. Most weeks throughout the year, you’ll be hearing from the JOFEE Fellows: reflections on their experiences, successful programs they’ve planned and implemented, gleanings from the field, and connections to the weekly Torah portion and what they’ve learned from their experiences with place in their host communities for the year. Be sure to check back weekly! PS Interested in being or hosting a JOFEE Fellow? Applications for cohort two are now open for both prospective fellows and prospective host institutions! And now, on to Becky’s post …  I’m thrilled for this opportunity to write about one of my favorite events of the year: Shabbat on the Lake. To me, Shabbat on the Lake is more than an event. It is a mindset, a movement, a gathering of all corners of the Jewish community;  it’s a tapestry of various affiliations, ways of engaging with Judaism and the possibility of a Jewish community who focuses on things that unite us as opposed to what divides us. Shabbat on the Lake’s inception at JCC Chicago arose six years ago to show young Jewish adults various […]

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