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Parshat Shemot – Pay It Back: An Attitude of Gratitude
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In this week’s parsha, a new pharaoh has entirely forgotten about Joseph’s legacy and his good governance. This lack of memory and gratitude sets in motion the enslavement of the Hebrews in Egypt. But that’s old news. When she was on a semester in Israel, Dana Sicherman, director of Institutional Advancement for Atlantic Seaboard NCSY, […]
Parshat Mikeitz – Fighting Pharaoh’s Injustice without Ego
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While he’s locked up in Pharaoh’s prison, Joseph begins interpreting dreams, and eventually the rumors of his talents reach Pharaoh himself. Rabbi Moshe Zucker, the veteran director of Brooklyn NCSY, questions how Pharaoh knew he could trust a lowly prisoner like Joseph with the secrets of his dreams and eventually come to ask Joseph to […]
Parshat Vayeishev – Once a leader, always a leader!
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There’s a huge difference between feeling like you’re always on the move versus feeling cozy and at home. The first verse of this week’s parsha draws that distinction, saying that Jacob ‘dwelt’ in the land that his father had travelled in. Rabbi Akiva Naiman, the chapter director of NCSY Oakland and director of NCSY Summer […]
Dots on a Kiss – Parshat Vayishlach
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In a dramatic moment, feuding brothers Esau and Jacob, reunite and greet each-other with an embrace and a kiss. In the Torah, the word ‘and kissed’ וַׄיִּׄשָּׁׄקֵ֑ׄהׄוּׄ is marked with dots above it, noting that we should pay special attention to the word. Rabbi Dr. Joseph Ozarowski, an alumnus of St. Louis NCSY and former […]
Climb Ever Higher (But Pace Yourself!) – Vayeitzei
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Parshat Vayetizei contains a powerful image – on a hilltop which will become the site of The Temple in Jerusalem, Yaakov, the patriarch Jacob, dreams of a ladder reaching to heaven. Up and down the ladder climb scores of angels, but what does this mystical vision mean? Rabbi Aaron Chaim Larson, an alumnus of Denver […]
“Instant Soup or Slow Cooking?” – Parshat Toldot
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How should siblings treat each other? In this week’s parsha, Esau demands a portion of soup from his brother Jacob while the family is mourning the death of their grandfather, Abraham. By requiring this instant gratification, Esau put himself before his family, disrupting the solemn mood and eventually forsaking his status as the first-born son. […]
Chayei Sarah: Meet the In-Laws
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In this week’s parsha, Abraham is seeking to make a shidduch, a match, for his son Isaac. But he’s not just the father of Isaac, but of monotheism as well. So he’s stuck in a bind: how does he bring a daughter-in-law into the family and make sure that his children and grandchildren join him […]
Parshat Lecha Lecha – Fresh like Bread, Fine like Wine
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During the events of Parshat Lech Lecha, our patriarch, Abraham, the father of monotheism, is given wine and bread after a military victory by a righteous leader from Jerusalem. What is the point of this simple feast? Rabbi Ari Segal, head of school at Shalhavet High School in Los Angeles and a former advisor for […]