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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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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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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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