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Torah Commentary

The Future of Our Past

04/25/2017 10:10:30 AM


April 25, 2017
by Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf

Monday was Yom HaShoah—Holocaust Remembrance Day. On Sunday, I participated in the San Francisco Jewish community observance of this important day. People gathered at the SFJCC to remember and honor those who were murdered in the Shoah. This year’s program was titled “The Future of Our Past.”

The theme was woven throughout the program. Each of the six candles was lit...Read more...

Yom HaShoah in Afghanistan

04/18/2017 04:30:02 PM


April 18, 2017
by Cantor David Frommer

This-coming Sunday evening, the Jewish community will begin its observance of Yom HaShoah, in memory of the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust. I had attended such observances in college and cantorial school, but I had never experienced one within the U.S. military until last year, when I was deployed to Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. I was glad to participate, of course,...Read more...

Passover Adventures in Afghanistan — Part 2

04/10/2017 11:21:58 AM


April 10, 2017
by Cantor David Frommer

My spirits could not have been higher when I finally arrived in Kabul, buoyed by the prospect of actually providing religious support for soldiers instead of meandering around the giant construction site that was Bagram Air Field. Celebrating Passover with the men and women directly responsible for our nation’s military response to the 9/11 attacks, in the capital of the country where the...Read more...

Passover Adventures in Afghanistan — Part 1

03/28/2017 11:20:36 AM


April 4, 2017
by Cantor David Frommer

“Your flight’s been canceled. You’ll have to spend the night here at Bagram Air Field.” “But I have a time-sensitive mission to lead Passover Seders in Kabul…” “Come back tomorrow for your new departure time.” There was only one thing to do. I dramatically extracted The Memorandum from a protective Ziploc bag in my pocket. Request that travel to U.S. Forces-Afghanistan...Read more...

What is Jewish Identity?

03/21/2017 04:54:46 PM


March 21, 2017
by Nancy Sheftel-Gomes

In the past few weeks God has painstakingly outlined to Moses what the Mishkan looks like and how the priest vestments should look. When I wonder what this had to do with the (Jewish) Identity of the Israelites I think about what Jewish Identity means today and how we develop our Jewish Identity and how it may differ or be similar to the Israelites in the desert.

When we went down to...

Expressing Solidarity

03/14/2017 02:42:02 PM


March 14, 2017
by Rabbi Julie Saxe-Taller

Last week, I received the following letter and wrote the response which also follows. I share the letters because they are meant to communicate a collective message between communities, rather than only a personal one. I hope that you find my letter a worthy response on your behalf.

Dear Rabbi Saxe-Taller,

Sholem...

Purim is coming! Purim is coming!  

03/07/2017 04:32:56 PM


March 7, 2017
by Rabbi Jessica Graf

Purim is coming! Purim is coming! But there is another day of commemoration on the Jewish calendar this week.  (There are two others, actually, if you count Taanit Esther—a minor fast day just before Purim, named for our heroine.)  This past Sunday was Zayin Adar—the 7th of the month of Adar. It is an important day in the history of our people—it was both the yartzheit and the...Read more...

A Mishkan Amidst the Storm

02/28/2017 01:41:18 PM


February 28, 2017
by Cantor David Frommer

On the morning of Election Day, Hillary Clinton’s chances of defeating Donald Trump stood at 85%, according to The New York Times. With only four minutes left in the Super Bowl, the Atlanta Falcons’ chances of defeating the New England Patriots stood at 92%, according to ESPN. And two days ago, at the Oscars, La La Land’s chances of defeating Moonlight for Best Picture...Read more...


02/21/2017 02:44:19 PM


February 21, 2017
by Nancy Sheftel-Gomes

Ask any preschooler about rules and they will by an early age have a list: sitting in their spot at story time, standing in line to go outside, raising your hand to ask a question, sharing, no hitting… is a pretty extensive list that describes how a 3 or 4 year old can do their part in their small world to be fair and safe. A good student listens to their teachers and tries to...Read more...

Torah of Leadership

02/14/2017 05:16:46 PM


February 14, 2017
by Rabbi Julie Saxe-Taller

Truth, facts, science, the authority of the Constitution, separation of authoritative powers and other mainstays of democracy and open society have been put on the table for discussion in the crisis of leadership we are undergoing as a country. That these basics are being questioned is an indicator of serious trouble.  And at the same time, engaged, serious questioning and...Read more...

Sat, 29 April 2017 3 Iyyar 5777