WRJ's Blog

Rules…rules…rules….Why so many?

This week’s parasha Mishpatim contains 23 positive and 30 negative commandments, the most mitzvot found in any single Torah portion. There is a vast assortment of laws from detailing the daily grind of life to establishing the three festivals (Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot). Laws cover personal injury, cursing parents, servants/slaves, murder, seduction, idolatry and oppression of widows, children and orphans. They continue with not cursing judges or leaders, how to lend money, and returning stray animals to owners.

As Torah has repeatedly...

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What are the key aspects of a Jewish identity? That can be a very tough question. There are at least three different elements that might be incorporated into a person’s self-description of being Jewish: peoplehood, religion and culture. Not only do I strive to incorporate all three of these elements into my personal definition of myself as a liberal Jewish woman, but I do so with a passion that somehow seems to encourage those around me to grasp that Judaism is central to my core. Because of whom I choose to be, I see the world through Jewish eyes.

Chapter 20 of the Book of Exodus...

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Last week’s Jewish Disability Advocacy Day helped kick off Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM). JDAD was an exciting opportunity to learn and advocate, and helped set the advocacy agenda for disability rights in the 115th Congress. JDAD provided the opportunity to hear from experts about some of the most issues that Congress will address in the next two years

A troubling, but important, piece of legislation regarding disability rights in the 115th Congress is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Education...

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In the months leading up to November 8, I suffered from acute election anxiety. Instead of incessantly checking my phone for the latest headlines or polls, I turned my anxiety into action. Leaving my suburban Philadelphia home with a clipboard and handmade “Voter Registration Volunteer” badge, I headed downtown to the Philadelphia Probation and Parole office, where I spent several mornings informing men and women who did not think they were eligible to vote that, in fact, they could vote, as long as they registered first. I spent afternoons knocking on doors and talking to people at bus...

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As with any Torah Study, we each bring our own experiences and learning to the table. This Torah portion is one that we all know well, but each of us has different reactions to different parts of the text as well as different experiences, with the text.

Basically this text relates the story of the Jews departing from Egypt, splitting of the Reed Sea, rejoining of the waters, continuing on to the Songs of the Sea by Miriam and ending with the journey in to the wilderness. G-d then sends manna from heaven.

As I reflect on the parashah, I must say that if, indeed, the story is...

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