White People, Take it In: On Racism and the Charleston Murders

Only when we of the white world take it in and own it for ourselves, only when we insist on doing the hard work of facing our fears and the way we have used them to oppress an entire people, only then will we be able to make our world safe for our African American brothers and sisters. That is our job, not theirs. Continue reading

Forgiving and Forgetting in Parshat Sh’lach L’cha

A community rejects its charge and then turns on its leaders, threatening to kill them for asking for their courage and their faith. God forgives, partially, but soon after commands that same community to kill one of its members. Does the wrong done warrant this judgment or has God, tested by the people’s own spinelessness and aggression, simply forgotten forgiveness? When God turns from humanity, does God begin to forget Godself? Continue reading

B’ha’alot’cha: Torah for Our Times

For many years I have read this text through the eyes of Rebecca Smith. During her bat mitzvah preparation, nearly a decade ago, we looked at this text together. Rebecca was clear: She didn’t like it the text. It seemed like the description of an angry, vengeful, aggressive God.
Sometimes, your students help you form the questions you long wanted to ask yourself. Continue reading