Rosh Hodesh Kislev | ראש חודש כיסלו
Blessing for the Month of Kislev (and Thanksgiving too)
By Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld
President, Hebrew College
May this month of Kislev open our hearts to gratitude that grows from patience, from acceptance, from humility, and from unending hope.
As we kindle the lights of Chanukah this year, one candle from another (ner mi’ner), may we kindle the lights within each of us, one spirit from another, without end.
Parashat Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:9)
By Rabbi Shira Shaker `10, Instructor at Gann Academy and Director of HaZaPrep
[In Parashat Toldot, Rebecca and Esau's] transformations are not the same. Rebecca seeks out God’s help in her moment of despair and is answered immediately, allowing her to recover without notable loss to her opportunities or identity. Esau seems to take longer, and may need to reframe his identity after the loss he incurs in his initial moment of despair. Accessing support early in the crisis makes a difference for Rebecca, but both eventually recover and live to find meaning and purpose in their lives.
Both examples teach us that despair is a real, unescapable, part of life, and that it can be overcome. It feels all-consuming and drives us to question fundamental understandings about our identity, our path, our world and our role in it. But despair need not be the end of the story. We know that despair can drive change in our lives. While it often accompanies loss, it can lead us to reconfigure our identity and our priorities. And behind despair lies the opportunity to emerge different yet still whole on the other side. As many in our country struggle to hold off despair, may our communities be there to hold each other up, to listen, to empathize with and witness the pain, and to remind those in despair that it need not last forever.
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Writing the Other Half of the Jewish Bookshelf:
Celebrating the Publication of Dirshuni—Contemporary Women’s Midrash
“Dirshuni is a collection of modern Israeli women’s midrash, which brings together voices from across the religious spectrum. The feminist theologian and author, Tamar Biala, composed a selection of these midrashim, and collected and painstakingly edited others. She provides a lucid commentary on each piece, with reference to the classic rabbinic sources. Dirshuni expands the canon to include contemporary women authors and is a must for every modern Jewish bookshelf!” — Rav Rachel Adelman, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at Hebrew College
Join author and editor Tamar Biala, and Hebrew College alumni Rabbi Avi Killip `14 and Rabbi Avi Strausberg `15 on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. at Hebrew College for an evening of study and conversation exploring this first-ever English edition of a historic collection of midrashim composed by Israeli women.
We invite you to visit our On Torah page to read, watch, and listen to the words of Torah on holidays, music, social justice, spirituality, and more that are emerging from our students, faculty, and alumni. We hope they inspire you to draw more deeply on the well of Torah in your own life.
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