Friday, August 27, 2010
Affirmation and Glory: What does it mean to be a Holy People?
Rabbi Isaacs will discuss what this week’s Torah portion can tell us about Israel’s relationship to God. In this portion, “Ki Tavo”, the Israelites are told that if they follow God’s laws, they will be the recipients of great blessings, and that if they do not, they will be afflicted with terrible curses. As Jews today, we all are faced with certain questions: What does it mean to be part of a Covenant? Can it be broken? Is God’s love conditional? What role does Jewish law play in our lives today? With these questions in mind, how should we build Jewish communities in the modern era? While not all of these questions will be answered, we will explore together how these texts speak to our lives, our relationships, and our congregation.
Saturday morning, August 28, 2010
The Stranger in Your Midst
The most repeated mitzvah (commandment) in the Torah is “do not afflict the stranger,” since you were a stranger in the land of Egypt. When one considers the fact that these words were written in the ancient Near East, she realizes that this message was revolutionary. The Israelites are commanded by God to be a people that provides and cares for those who do not have full citizenship. At the same time, however, one of the curses we encounter is also related to the stranger. If we do not follow God’s law, the stranger will be our master and creditor. When we juxtapose these two facts, what can we learn about the role of the stranger? Looking at our contemporary context, how do we relate to the gerim (a word both for convert and stranger) in our communities?
Saturday afternoon, August 28, 2010
A Complete Life: A Blessing or a Curse? A Conversation about Moses’ Journey and Our Lives.
While I do not want to give away the ending of this great story, Moses does not make it to the Land of Israel. Moreover, the Jewish people do not inherit The Land until the Book of Joshua, after the Five Books of Moses have come to an end. Does this mean that the Torah is incomplete? Do we always want to achieve all of our goals in our lifetimes? Are some things better left undone? We will explore classical and contemporary texts related to these questions.