Category Archives: NiSh’ma

NiSh’ma – Social Movements

December 1, 2012

“The world is too dangerous to live in — not because of the people who do evil, but because of the people who sit and let it happen.” — Albert Einstein Since the Holocaust, Jews the world over have asked: How could the people of Europe have allowed the extermination of 6 million Jews? We More »

NiSh’ma – The Jewish Workplace

November 1, 2012

“Sing, you barren woman who has not borne; burst out into song and jubilate, you who have not experienced birth pangs, for the children of the desolate one are more than the children of the married woman, says the Lord.” — Isaiah 54:1 Exhilarating, intense, passionate, euphoric, transformative. These are the words of the innovation More »

NiSh’ma – Communities and Synagogues

October 2, 2012

“The real beginning of community is when its members have a common relation to the center overriding all other relations: the circle is described by the radii, not by the points along its circumference.” —Martin Buber, Paths in Utopia If asked what they most appreciate about our congregation, many congregants would respond, “the community.” In More »

NiSh’ma – Lessons from the book of Yonah

September 3, 2012

“Should I not have pity on Nineveh, that great city?” —Jonah 4:10-11 The city of Nineveh, capital of Assyria, is near contemporary Baghdad in Iraq.  In 722 BCE, the Assyrians, a people famed for their cruelty, conquered Samaria in Northern Israel. Generations later, after the Babylonian exile in 586 BCE, the author of the book More »

NiSh’ma – Changing Notions of Torah

May 1, 2012

“For the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to do it.” —Deuteronomy 30:14 Our verse provides an emphatic answer to a question fundamental to the human spirit: Where do wisdom and holiness reside? Preceding verses explored where the Torah, our blueprint for holiness, is not: It is not More »

NiSh’ma – The Jewish Table

March 1, 2012

Rabbi Yohanan and Resh Lakish explain: At the time when the Temple stood, the altar used to make atonement for a person; now a person’s table makes atonement for him. (Talmud Bavli, Chagigah 27a) “A person’s table makes atonement for him…” by means of welcoming guests to one’s table, “hachnasat orchim.” —Rashi on Chagigah 27a More »

NiSh’ma – Consumerism

February 1, 2012

“And you shall bring no abhorrent thing into your house or you will be under the ban like it. You shall surely despise it and shall surely abhor it, for it is under the ban.” —Deuteronomy 7:26 Simply read, this verse bans the abhorrent from the Jewish home. In doing so, it asks us to More »

The Prophets and the Moralists

January 1, 2012

“The moralists discuss, suggest, counsel; the prophets proclaim, demand, insist.” —Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Prophets When I first picked up Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s seminal book on the prophets, I read it with a healthy dose of skepticism. As an organizer, I was frustrated with people who fashioned themselves as modern-day prophets — men and More »

NiSh’ma – Tzedakah

October 2, 2011

Honor God with your wealth. (Proverbs 3:9) If you are good-looking, don’t be morally loose, lest people will say, “So-and-so is good-looking, and he exploits it by having inappropriate sex.” Instead, honor God with your wealth. Another interpretation: Honor God with your wealth, so you don’t come to honor God without any wealth. Yet another More »