Rosh Hodesh Nisan | ראש חודש ניסן
Blessing for the Month of Nisan
My beloved spoke thus to me, "Arise, my darling; my fair one, come away! For now the winter is past, the rains are over and gone. The blossoms have appeared in the land, the time of pruning has come; the song of the turtledove is heard in our land. The green figs form on the fig tree, the vines in blossom give off fragrance. Arise, my darling; my fair one, come away!" (Song of Songs 2:10-13)
When I was growing up, my mother would read these verses from Song of Songs each year at our Passover seder. This will always be karpas for me, sprigs of fresh parsley dipped in the sound of my mother’s voice saying “Arise my darling,” saying “For lo the winter is past.” Saying no matter what bitterness life might bring, there is always the possibility of love. And where there is love, there is hope.
Parashat Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1-5:26)
By Rabbi Leora Abelson`17
Much of Jewish tradition affirms the connection between our inner and our communal work. Sefer Vayikra, the book of Leviticus which we begin reading this week, particularly affirms the relationship between individual and collective accountability, inviting us to imagine and create a communal system that encourages both and recognizes that in the aftermath of harm, healing must be material and spiritual.
Sefer Vayikra recognizes that we need transformation at every level. Its primary modality is a system of ritual sacrifices. The descriptions are both gruesome and technical, but bear with me—while this unfamiliar language and imagery can be a barrier to connection, Sefer Vayikra offers us wisdom that is profoundly relevant today.
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The History of Now: What American Jewish History Teaches Us About Contemporary Jewish Issues
Program: Hebrew College Me’ah Select
Instructors: Rabbi Dr. Dan Judson and Dr. Jonathan Sarna
Dates: 8 Thursdays, 4/20, 4/27, 5/4, 5/11, 5/18, 5/25, 6/1 & 6/8
Time: 10 – 11:45 a.m.
Cost: $304, generous financial aid is available
There are several crucial issues facing American Judaism today. How much should Israel define American Jewish identity and what should be our attitude towards organizations that criticize Israel? How concerned should we be about antisemitism? How should we respond to today’s close to 70 percent intermarriage rate for non-Orthodox Jews—is this a challenge or a blessing? What should we do in the face of closing synagogues and changing patterns of affiliation among the younger generation of Jews? This course will examine the contemporary debates around these issues by looking at the historical development which gave rise to them.
Learn more & register
The Hebrew College Passover Companion offers a pathway into one of our central ritual moments—the Passover seder. The Companion is structured around the simanim, or signposts, of the seder, bringing you from the ritual’s beginning, through the meal, and to its closing. We hope it will generate new questions and new conversations around your own seder table—and that you will be touched and surprised by the many ways we can tell our story of liberation.
Read the online version or order your copy...
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