Rabbis Without Borders

Nurturing rabbis as American religious leaders, Rabbis Without Borders makes Jewish wisdom an available resource to the wider public. For more information about Rabbis Without Borders programs, visit the Rabbis Without Borders site by clicking here.

My Yom Kippur Sermon: My Statement of Values – Signing Myself Into the Book of Life October 14, 2014

"Last night, I spoke about the importance of symbolically signing the Book of Life and leaving a permanent mark on this world. I urged us all to actually sign our own Book of Life that is in the hallway – and I invite those who haven’t yet done so, to please add your signature!

Tzemah Yoreh: Genesis: Israel's Origins October 13, 2014

In this book, Clal Resident Tzemah Yoreh, Ph.D. discusses the issue that in the earliest version of Genesis there is no creation story or flood. Abraham appears out of nowhere in Canaan. Isaac is killed for his father’s sins and Jacob and his seven sons are the founders of Israel. The brothers don’t sell Joseph down to Egypt and Judah doesn’t exist. Genesis: Israel’s Origins traces the slow development of this uniquely divergent account into the canonical text of the Book of Genesis.

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Why We Build Something That We Know We’ll Take Down October 13, 2014

"Yom Kippur is an exhausting day. By the end of the day, we’re tired, we’re hungry, and we’re just ready to be done. But traditionally, even if you’re exhausted, there’s a mitzvah to fulfill the next day: on the day after Yom Kippur, you’re supposed to build your sukkah.What’s fascinating is that the day after Yom Kippur was also seen as the first day of building for the two most important structures in Jewish history—the mishkan (home for the Ark of the Covenant), and the First Temple in Jerusalem.

For Israel, A Difficult Season Of Reckoning October 1, 2014

"The season of reckoning is upon us. For Jews, the sentiment will likely evoke thoughts of the upcoming Days of Awe. Both the Hebrew month of Elul and then the ten days of repentance that starts with Rosh HaShana and ends with Yom Kippur is the time when Jews are called upon to go into introspection mode. Where we identify particular sins of commission or omission the Jewish tradition calls upon us to repent and to make amends..."

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Gratitude and Forgiving the Unforgivable September 30, 2014

"A while back I suggested a unique way of doing the chesbon nefesh (soul’s accounting) we are expected to do this time of year. The tools I suggested are useful year round, but they are timely during this season of Teshuva (repentance).As I understand them, the Yamim Noraim (Days of Awe) rests on two central themes: Gratitude and Forgiveness.

Tzemah Yoreh: Book of Judgment September 29, 2014

In this book, Clal Resident Tzemah Yoreh, Ph.D. explores how did the biblical Isaac die? It may be surprising to know that in the original Genesis account, the angel did not stop Abraham's knife, but let Isaac be sacrificed, severing not only his head but also the continuity between Abraham and Jacob. This companion volume to my Kernel to Canon series tells the original story of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Balaam as the Bible once told it, without embellishments or commentary.

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Dear Friend, May You Be Written in the Book of Life September 29, 2014

"May you be Written in the Book of Life” is such a nice phrase to utter at this time of year, between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Most years I don’t think much about it. It is easy to ignore the weight of the words when everyone in your life is healthy.This year is different. A close friend is struggling with aggressive breast cancer. Instead of casually saying these words, I am fervently praying them on her behalf..."

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Meeting My Palestinian Neighbors For the First Time September 23, 2014

"Nine months ago I opened the front door of my apartment in Alon Shvut and took a 20-minute walk that began to change my life. My wife asked me to reconsider—it might be dangerous, she said—but I went anyway. My heart beat just a little bit faster than usual as I walked through the Arab fields and vineyards that surround my home in the Judean Hills...."

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Talk of Israel and Gaza Draws Congregants' Wrath September 22, 2014

"...Rabbi Ron Aigen [a Clal Rabbis Without Borders Fellow] heard criticism at his synagogue in Montreal this month after he gave a sermon asserting that in the recent battle, Israel had endeavored to live up to the highest standards of Jewish teaching on ethical and just war.

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: When My Father Hit Me, I Never Did It Again September 17, 2014

"One of the reasons I love the fall is because of the NFL. Although I need to garner all of my religious faith to remain a Jets fan, I absolutely adore watching the weekly games with my son. I am sure that I am not the only parent in America who had some explaining to do this past Sunday. Each day it seemed that yet another player was deactivated for horrific acts of domestic violence. The press kept reporting that it was a “bad week for the NFL.” I disagree. It was a bad week for America.

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