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  1. The Covenant and the Land

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on September 19, 2014 in Israel

    At the opening of Parashat Nitzavim, the Israelites stand rooted before Moses and God. A captive and diverse audience, they are recipients of a message that is both immediate and transcendent in nature. They are told, “I make this covenant, with its sanct ...

    stasch - September 16, 2014

  2. Taking Responsibility for the Land

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on August 15, 2014 in Israel

    Parashat Eikev deals heavily with the theme of entering and securing the Land of Israel. Multiple blessings are part and parcel of entry into the Promised Land. The people are promised a “good land, a land with streams and springs and fountains” (Deut. 8: ...

    stasch - August 14, 2014

  3. Waters of Uncertainty

    Commentary by Dr. Alisa Braun on August 15, 2014 in Israel

    “If it doesn’t rain, we don’t know what’s going to happen,” commented a NASA water-cycle scientist recently on the drought that has been devastating California. With rainfall and reservoirs at historically low levels, the state’s farm owners and laborers ...

    stasch - August 14, 2014

  4. The View from the Other Side

    Commentary by Dr. Stephen Garfinkel on August 1, 2014 in Israel

    Is the author of this week’s Torah reading, Parashat Devarim, or the author of the entire book of Devarim (Deuteronomy, the last of the five books of the Torah), not paying attention? Or, perhaps, does the author think we have not been paying attention to ...

    stasch - August 1, 2014

  5. Our Prayers for Israel—For Whom Is the Message?

    Commentary by Rabbi Samuel Barth on July 25, 2014 in Israel

    A serious challenge confronting the all-too-human venture of praying to God is in working out what we can say to the “One Who knows all.” A prayer for a congregation to recite in the face of destructive storms might open with the words, “God, we stand bef ...

    stasch - July 29, 2014

  6. At Home, Running for Cover

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on July 25, 2014 in Israel

    Reflections from Israel on the Rabbinical Assembly–Masorti Solidarity Mission to the South, 2014 The past month has been a time of great emotion and tension for those of us living in Israel. From the moment that Naftali Fraenkel (z”l), Gilad Sha’ar (z”l), ...

    stasch - July 24, 2014

  7. Mah Nishtanah... A Seder for Yom Ha’atzma’ut

    Commentary by Rabbi Samuel Barth on May 16, 2014 in Israel

    In recent weeks, Medinat Israel (the State of Israel) was celebrated by citizens, residents, and the worldwide Jewish community with an array of observances for Yom Ha’atzma’ut (Israel Independence Day). In synagogues of the Conservative/Masorti Movement, ...

    stasch - May 14, 2014

  8. Peacemaking and the Quest for Holiness

    Commentary by Professor Arnold M. Eisen on May 9, 2014 in Israel

    Truth in advertising: Rabbi Amy Eilberg (GS ’78, RS ’85) is an old and dear friend of mine—we raised our kids together in California. Rabbi Eilberg will be feted this coming week at the Rabbinical Assembly (RA) convention in Dallas as honoree of the RA Jo ...

    stasch - May 7, 2014

  9. The Eternal Light of Torah

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on February 5, 2014 in Israel

    At the beginning of Parashat Tetzavveh, Moses is commanded to instruct the Israelites, “bring clear oil of beaten olives for lighting, for kindling lamps regularly. Aaron and his sons will set them up in the Tent of Meeting, outside the curtain which is o ...

    cldemesier - February 5, 2014

  10. Determination and Redemption

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on January 8, 2014 in Israel

    Parashat Beshallah witnesses triumphant redemption. Freed by the wonders of God and the leadership of Moses, the Israelites leave their Egyptian surroundings en route to the Promised Land of Israel. And while one would expect God to have mercy on these ne ...

    cldemesier - January 9, 2014