Month: October 2017

Parashat Lech L’cha • Genesis 12:1−17:27

“Once or twice in a lifetime, a man or woman may choose a radical leaving, having heard, ‘Lech L’cha – Go forth.'” These words open our prayer book’s contemporary interpretation of the Ahavah Rabbah prayer, found in our Saturday morning service. These words, Lech L’cha echo the name of this week’s Torah Portion in which Abram & Sarai set out on a journey that would forever change the world.

These words are often translated as above, “go forth,” but when we look more carefully at the Hebrew, we see additional layers of meaning: Lech – Go, L’cha – to yourself. In this story, Abram is not merely sent away from his birthplace, he is sent out to discover himself, to go towards himself. We read these words every fall, not long after welcoming the New Year. We are reminded by this parsha that our journey is simultaneously outward – where and how we move through the world – while also being inward – who do we become along the way?

Rabbi Callie B. Schulman


Parashat Noach • Genesis 6:9−11:32

Noah walked with God. The crafter of the ark, the savior of animals and humanity from the flood, the hero of our Torah portion is introduced with these words. While traditional commentators have sought to qualify this endorsement of his character (Abraham, as someone who argued with God to save human lives, was said to walk before God, perhaps not needing God’s assistance), perhaps more humility is called for. After all, Noah was said to be the most righteous of his generation!

This debate, how good is a person, plays out in every generation. In the messiness of human existence, some people are truly bad, others forces for good, and most of us just trying to do the best we can in any given situation. May we all strive, in the words of Micah, to do justice and to love righteousness so that we, too, may walk with God. 

Rabbi Aaron C. Meyer


B'reishit • Genesis 1:1−6:8

And so it begins, again. On Friday Night we will unfurl a Torah scroll, read the final verses of Deuteronomy and then start right in with the opening words of Genesis: another beginning, as we return to “the” beginning B’reishit. As we emerge from the thickly laden holy days into the new year, we come back to the text; the words remain the same, yet the eyes we bring to them are inevitably changed from year to year. A fresh read of the Torah might reveal newfound meaning, might call into question previous understandings, might unfurl new voices buried deep within the ancient stories.

B’reishit is a densely packed narrative, containing the mysterious accounts of creation of both light and dark, with an unflinchingly raw introduction of the same tendencies of the human impulse. Mere verses after our primordial birth we read about the first transgression, and then the next, each followed by transformation; as if the very act of creation set off other wheels of creation within itself. These sacred stories do not shy away from the myriad tendencies that exist within humanity, they ask us what we are to make of them, and how we are to weave them into our ever-evolving senses of self.

Rabbi Callie B. Schulman


Challenge 2.0 - From Me to We (Episode 1)

The Treacy Levine Center is dedicated to promoting understanding, bridging divides, and building relationships amongst people across religious, cultural, ethnic, and social lines through educational and experiential activities. It is resurrecting a program that used to broadcast in the early 1960’s on KOMO TV called Challenge. Watch Episode 1:


Rabbi Daniel Weiner on KUOW

Bill Radke of KUOW talks with Rabbi Daniel Weiner about how to confront the recent flare-up of antisemitism in America.

http://kuow.org/post/seattle-rabbi-we-cant-let-marginalized-outsiders-skew-our-sense-reality

 


A Special Rabcast from Rabbi Daniel Weiner

In response to the recent, tragic massacre in Las Vegas, Rabbi Weiner wants to share a special Rabcast from a few years ago, with a more timely introduction.  As you’ll note, it is painful that we confront the same horrors in the same season from year to year.  “When will they ever learn…?”