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Topic: Elul

Indigenous Rights and Reconciliation | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Jared Kaminsky – Shoresh Parshat Shoftim The parsha of the week is Shoftim, which means Judges. As Moses nears the end of his life, he wants to ensure there is a system of governance in society. Shoftim gives detailed ordinances on many topics of law, including appointing judges, laws that kings should follow, creating cities of refuge when crimes are committed, and the rules of war. For example, the parsha states that appointed judges are forbidden from taking bribes and there must be two credible witnesses for a conviction. Another ordinance demands that kings must not have too many horses and must always carry around two Torah scrolls to remind them that G-D is above them. The Torah even provides a city of refuge for those who accidentally murdered someone to live in safety! While many of these laws do not apply to modern society, there are some important insights into preventing corruption and treatment of humankind that we can still learn from. Moses recognized that every generation has the obligation to critically examine and apply the laws of the Torah. As Jews we should examine the laws that govern the places we live and work to protect the rights of […]

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Less Fear, More Resolve

by Nigel Savage Originally posted in the Forward on August 30, 2017. “Who shall live and who shall die,” a line in the prayer Unetanneh Tokef, is the emotional highpoint of the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur liturgy. The power of it is that, despite antibiotics and micro-surgery, we really don’t know who will live and who will die; not in the coming year and not in the coming day. Those of us who were in New York City on Rosh Hashanah in 2001, five days after 9/11, remember the power of reciting this haunting, awful, and awe-filled prayer. The shul community was in full attention; people wept — some silently, others audibly. Close to 3,000 people were murdered by terrorists in the attacks on 9/11. Since then, terrorists have killed another 403 people in the United States. In that same period, deaths by handguns amounted to 406,496. Overall, roughly 33,000 people are murdered every year in the United States. Slightly more — roughly 35,000 — die in traffic fatalities. In Israel, more people have died in traffic accidents since the establishment of the State of Israel than in all the wars and incidents of terrorism combined. Even more shocking […]

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The Beauty of Yom Kippur – D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Zach Goldberg, Ramah in the Rockies & Congregation Bonai Shalom – Boulder, CO Yom Kippur and Parshat Vayelech 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 cohort two are now open for both prospective fellows and prospective host institutions!  — The high holiday season is full of JOFEE experiences! Elul is mamash the harvest season, and Sukkot is the third and final harvest festival after all! I witnessed this a few weeks ago on the birthday of the Baal Shem Tov, the 18th of Elul. The celebration was kicked off with a call of the shofar. Morah Yahudis Fishman explained during a noon time shiur at Congregation Bonai Shalom that this call, blowing air through a horn of an animal, awakens the deepest parts of […]

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Choosing Life – D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Yoshi Silverstein  Parshat Nitzavim & Rosh Hashanah 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 (and staff): reflections on their experiences, successful programs they’ve planned and implemented, gleanings from the field, and connections to the weekly Torah portion or Holidays and what they’ve learned from their experiences with place in their host communities for the year. This one is from me, Yoshi, Director of the JOFEE Fellowship. Views expressed are the mine and do not necessarily represent Hazon. Be sure to check back next week for Zach Goldberg’s post on JOFEE and Yom Kippur!   P.S. Interested in being or hosting a JOFEE Fellow? Applications for cohort two are now open for both prospective fellows and prospective host institutions!  You all know the big one coming up this week: Rosh Hashanah. The Head of the Year, when we begin the High Holiday season full of heart-beatings and introspection, good food, wine, and cheer followed by the Yom Kippur fast. This week is also Parshat Nitzavim – the Torah portion from my Bar Mitzvah. Much of that weekend is a blur at this point, twenty years later (wow, that just sunk in – twenty […]

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A Heart to Know, Eyes to See, and Ears to Hear – D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Danielle Smith, Eden Village Camp – Putnam Valley, NY Parshat Ki Tavo 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. Be sure to check back weekly!  P.S. Interested in being or hosting a JOFEE Fellow? Applications for cohort two are now open for both prospective fellows and prospective host institutions!  In this week’s Torah portion, Ki Tavo, Moses speaks reflectively and instructively to the Israelites as they approach the Promised Land, finally nearing the end of their forty year journey through the wilderness. Here at Eden Village Camp, we may not have spent forty years wandering the wilderness of Putnam Valley (though sometimes the packed days and weeks at camp can feel almost as long #jewishcamptime), but the transition into the fall season is the perfect time for deep reflection and exhalations. It was a fast leap from summer into the slower pace of the fall, and after two months of […]

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