Parshat Balak: Numbers 22:2 - 25:9

Rabbi Alissa Miller

Life is always a question of how we choose to see the world.  Very little in our world is objective.  We choose the perspective from which to view a place, situation or object.  In this week’s Torah portion, Balak, King of Moab, sees the great size and might of the Israelites and sends the prophet-for-hire Balaam to curse the Israelites.  After a crazy adventure with a talking donkey and encountering angles, he arrives at the Israelites… Read More »

Parshat Chukat: Numbers 19:1 - 22:1

Rabbi Alissa Miller

A few weeks ago while traveling in Israel with many families from Temple Isaiah we rafted down the Jordan River.  In fact, that day we crossed the Jordan River many times as we made our way from the Galilee to the Golan and back again.  As we experienced the defined border of the Promised Land the question arose, “Why did Moses have to stop here? (Actually a little bit down the river from here.) Why was he never allowed entry into the… Read More »

Parshat Korach: Numbers 16:1 - 18:32

Rabbi Judy Shanks

It did not take a tragic shooting on a baseball diamond to drive home – yet again—the reality of an impossibly wide divide between ideologies and people in our nation. Whether from our national leadership or on our social media pages, civil, thoughtful, respectful discourse is mostly missing in favor of screeds.  We speak past each other; is it any wonder no one is listening to anything except to that which we do already agree?

Dr.… Read More »

Parshat Sh’lach: Numbers 13:1 - 15:41

Rabbi Jay LeVine

What’s the worst thing you can do? Of all the options out there, I’m sure each of us has a strong opinion. For Rashi, it turns out to be idolatry. Who is Rashi? And what, exactly, is idolatry?

Rashi is perhaps the most beloved commentator on the Hebrew Bible. He lived in France in the 11th century, probably growing grapes and turning them into wine for a living. In his spare time, he devoted himself to learning and teaching Torah,… Read More »

Parshat Beha’alotcha: Numbers 8:1 - 12:16

Cantor Leigh Korn

In this week’s portion, we once again find the Israelites kvetching, as we find they were prone to do throughout their long journey through the desert.  The people begin to complain, first at Taberah, where a fire breaks out amidst the people, then at Kibrot-Hataavah, where they cry out for meat.  God is furious with them, and Moses feels the full burden of his leadership, so God agrees to divide his load among seventy elders.  Towards… Read More »

Parshat Nasso: Numbers 4:21 - 7:89

Rabbi Jay LeVine

A few weeks ago, Temple Isaiah’s Confirmation Class of 2017 led our congregation in prayer, offering insightful reflections on life, Judaism, and community. Rabbi Miller and I were so proud of these young women and men. Granted, as high school sophomores they sometimes lived up to the etymology of the word “sophomore”, which originally meant “arguer” (according to But what is Judaism if not a civilization built… Read More »

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