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11/03/2020 08:54:52 PM


Words of the Spirit, by Rabbi Liz Bolton, Or Haneshamah's rabbi and spiritual leader

Different - and the Same

25/05/2020 08:09:07 PM


This coming Shabbat has at least two dates: May 30th on the Gregorian calendar, and the 7th of Sivan on the Hebrew calendar. What else comes in twos this last Shabbat in May, the first Shabbat following the Omer period? It also has two Torah portions.

This is a distinction that is different from the “double-parshah” scenario that applies to seven different pairs of Torah portions. A year has 52 weeks, the Torah has 54 portions....Read more...

Love Thy Leviticus

28/04/2020 07:50:39 PM


This week’s double-parshah, Acharey Mot-Kedoshim, can strike both love and loathing in the hearts of Torah students. Love, for the passage at the heart of Kedoshim: love your neighbour as yourself [Lev 19:18] along with many other uplifting verses. Loathing, for the oh so many strange, alien and even repellant passages, including the repeated injunctions to not lie with a male as one lies with a woman [Lev 18:22, 20:13].

The impulse...

Counting from the Heart

14/04/2020 10:45:13 AM


Today is April 14, 2020. It’s a Tuesday. It’s the last day of the “intermediate” days of Passover. It’s the first “weekday” after the Easter holiday weekend.  It’s spring, the time of the earliest flowering bloomers and budding trees.

Or, as one of the many internet posts offered on the theme of “when someone asks what day it is,” we get a clip of the dazzling Bernadette Peters singing : “Tuesday, Thursday,...Read more...

Passover 5780/2020 Essentials, COVID-19 Edition: Holy Newness

31/03/2020 10:51:50 PM


First of all, humour:
Passover for Social Distancers
(The author is the spouse of Reconstructionist Rabbi Rachel Gartner, Director for Jewish Life at Georgetown University. NB – heavy on the wine jokes.)
Next, music! Enjoy these contemporary and traditional songs for the seder (all found in the Reconstructionist Hagaddah A Night of Questions):
Shabbat Unplugged - "A Night of Questions" Haggadah...

Cry Out. Call Me. Call Each Other.

25/03/2020 01:05:44 PM


What does Judaism say about loss, separation, and living in times of stress and uncertainty?

WHAT does JUDaism saY …..??!?
I can’t do it effectively in print, but I’m imagining a voice, that inflected voice with the upturn at the end, one that perhaps you...Read more...

What If?

18/03/2020 10:33:32 PM


I am finding delight in the craziest little things. Or, more accurately, I’m allowing myself to seek, find, and relish such delight.

Here’s one. The plastic bottle with the dish washing soap was almost empty, so I went downstairs to pull out the large jug for a refill. As I was spinning the top back on to the large jug, it popped out of my hand and spun out behind the laundry machines. Oof, that’s an awkward spot, I thought,...Read more...

The Jewish Experience in Canada Today: A Presentation on the 2018 Srvey of the Jews in Canada

10/03/2020 08:55:12 PM


In 2018, the Environics Institute for Survey Research conducted the first ever survey of Canadian Jewry, inspired by the 2013 Pew Study of American Jews. On March 4, 2020, OrH and the Soloway JCC hosted an event featuring an overview of the report’s six themes by one of the project’s principals, ORH member Keith Neuman.
A succinct yet rich presentation of the survey’s key findings was followed by a thoughtfully probing...Read more...

The Awe in the New Year of the Trees

05/02/2020 10:18:41 AM


In anticipation of our annual Tu B'shevat seder taking place on Sunday, February 9, we are reprinting a Words of the Spirit column written in January 2016.

What is the most awesome, inspiring, jaw-dropping moment of all? This may be as close to a universal accord as one can find. Surely the answer must be: the birth moment.
The moment a baby comes into the world; the first tender slips of a bud; the emergence...Read more...

To Repair the World, One Spark at a Time

14/01/2020 09:17:29 PM


Vehayyei olam nat’a betochenu   … letaken ‘olam bemalkhut shaddai -  endless potential lies within us to repair the world through the power of malkhut.
These phrases are embedded in each and every prayer service, in the words of the Aleynu prayer.
We don’t just say it, we sing Aleynu – it is up to us, through malkhut – sovereignty.
It was during their interpretive message...

Connecting Heaven and Earth

10/12/2019 09:35:35 PM


On December 9th, 1948 the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and on December 10th voted to pass the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These landmark documents, created in direct response to the Holocaust, fundamentally transformed the ways in which the world thinks about responsibilities to every individual person.
The pair of documents calls to mind Jacob’s...

Thu, 26 May 2022