Taking Ourselves Too Seriously

I want to discuss one sentence in our weekly Torah parshah which is missing a direct object. The verse says simply, “And Korach took.” It neglects to tell us what he took. An attentive reader keeps waiting for the sentence to finish. “What did he take? Tell me, I can’t stand the suspense!” Our ancestors, ever mindful of such slight grammatical problems, scurried to uncover God’s presence and the hidden meaning in this anomaly.

What I Learned Wearing Ritual Fringes

At the end of this week’s parasha, Sh’lakh L’kh, God presents the Israelites with a new commandment. It is the mitzvah of tzitzit, of wearing a fringes on the corners of our garments. This passage becomes the third paragraph of the Sh’ma prayer, our central declaration of faith in God. It also is the proof text for why Jews use tallitot or prayer shawls during services.

God Was the First Antiracist

There’s not a lot of explicit material about race in the Torah. Yet this week’s parsha deals with it, and the timing could not be more apt, even as the lesson being offered is not immediately explicit.

A Temple of Silicon and Light

When Brian Rohr and I began our planning for this class last summer, the world was a very different place. We began with your desire to learn about Jewish ethics and then sought ethical topics that we hoped would speak to you. Most of us, after all, learn best when we feel connected to the topic, to the instructors and to our fellow classmates.

A Future Conversation, Imagined

Next Wednesday, May 20th at 7PM marks the graduation of our 7-11th graders, with special honor given to our Tichon 12th graders. This celebration has long been a milestone of the CNS calendar year, as we learn from our graduate’s poignant wisdom before they head to new adventures.

In the Middle of the Night: Celebrating the Torah on Shavuot

I have been ruminating for some time on a statement often ascribed to Winston Churchill, “never let a good crisis go to waste.” It's one of the lenses I continue to use during this pandemic. Although there is no evidence that Churchill said this, the wisdom remains. A crisis often allows us to get things done that were not possible before.