© 2019 by Rabbi Rachel Bearman.

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December 7, 2018

In Parashat Vayishlach, we read of the death of our matriarch, Rachel, who does not survive the birth of her second child, a boy whom she names Ben-oni. As she lay dying, the baby’s father, Jacob, renames him Benjamin (Gen. 35:16-18). The Torah does not tell us why thi...

November 4, 2018

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel described Shabbat as a palace in time.  In his mind, the hours from sundown to sundown knit together to form sacred architecture which is then fortified by our intentions, our study, and our prayers.  Each week, we enter Shabbat as if we ar...

September 27, 2018

I stand with my sisters.
I look to my left, and I see Dinah who has a knowing look in her eyes.
She understands better than anyone what happens when your trauma is transformed into the story of a man’s battle.
I look to my right, and I see Bilhah and Zilpah h...

September 20, 2018

When the first and second Temples still stood in Jerusalem,  Yom Kippur looked significantly different than it does today.  The ancient version of the Day of Atonement is described in minute detail within the pages of the Mishnah and Talmud.  From these sources, we kno...

September 20, 2018

Over the summer, I received a message from Rabbi Paul Kipnes, who serves a congregation in California.  In addition to his pulpit work, Rabbi Kipnes is in the middle of creating material for the Reform Movement’s newsletter, Ten Minutes of Torah.  He explained to...

September 10, 2018

In tractate Sanhedrin 17b of the Babylonian Talmud, we read:

A Torah scholar is not allowed to live in a city that does not have these 10 things: a law court that metes out punishments; a charity fund that is collected by two people and distributed by three; a synagogue...

September 9, 2018

One of the most powerful and important motifs that we find in the High Holy Day prayer book is the idea of the Book of Life.  On Rosh Hashanah and the first two thirds of Yom Kippur, over and over again we will invoke this idea in our prayers as we say,

“Zochreinu l’cha...

July 4, 2018

God bless you, America, the shelter that my ancestors sought when their children were threatened by state-sponsored persecution.
 

God bless you, America, the prison of those who were once deemed fractional human beings, the beloved home of those who have belonged to th...

June 22, 2018

I used to wonder how the Egyptians felt when they saw infants condemned as enemies and threats.
I used to wonder what Shifra and Puah thought when they heard the cries of Israelite mothers struggling to keep their families whole.
I used to wonder what made Ba...

June 16, 2018

Earlier this week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions used a quote from the New Testament to support the brutal separation of children and their parents.  During a speech in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Sessions remarked, “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wis...

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