Rabbinic Reflections

Reimagining Cultural Structures During Sukkot

Avodah New Orleans held its first in-person event in two years during Sukkot, gathering in the Sukkah at the home of Avodah Alum Dana Keren, and learning from longtime placement organization, The First 72+, whose mission is to stop the cycle of incarceration by...

Bamidbar 5781

This week, we begin the fourth book of the Torah, Sefer Bamidbar. In Hebrew, bamidbar means wilderness or desert. In English, the title Numbers derives from the multiple censuses taken throughout the book. Bamidbar is a much more apt title for the journey that we will...

Is Lying Ever Justified? Devar Torah for Parashat Toledot

Rabbi Aryeh Bernstein Avodah, 5781 It seems intuitive that truthfulness should be paramount in religious life and in fact, the Torah teaches bluntly in the civil code, “From a lying word stay far away” (Exodus/Sh’mot 23:7). This mitzvah is directed to judges; in our...

Torah as Poetry – a D’var Torah (Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30)

  By Rabbi Aryeh Bernstein, National Jewish Educator for Avodah This week, we read two short Torah portions. (Some portions are flexible and sometimes go solo and sometimes team up, depending on calendar features, such as if a holiday fell on Shabbat, pushing a...

Inspiration and Introspection For the New Year

  Every day during this month of Elul, we blow the shofar as a wake-up call to our hearts and minds. It’s our reminder to take an honest self-evaluation, a real heshbon hanefesh, an accounting of the soul, so that we may take the necessary steps to create a...

REVELATION AND REVOLUTION

  REVELATION AND REVOLUTION: THE OMER Springtime in Jewish life is framed by two major festivals: Passover, the holiday of liberation, and, exactly seven weeks later, Shavuot, the holiday of Revelation. This period is marked by a daily count-up, focusing outward,...

Teshuva: Our Collective Responsibility

Rosh Hashana is, of course, a time of new beginnings for all of us–with all of the introspection and opportunities to change our lives that it brings.And yet, for a lot of us, one of our tradition’s toughest pieces of liturgy shows up during the morning of...