WRJ's Blog

This week’s Voices is written by Lillian Kowalski who is a 3rd year rabbinical student at HUC-JIR in LA. She graduated last year from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education with a Masters in Jewish Education and received her bachelors from Brandeis University.  She currently serves as the student rabbi at Temple Shalom in Yakima, WA. Lillian is one of 6 students who are receiving YES Fund scholarships this year from WRJ.

Self-care has become the rallying cry of my generation.

Among the many difficulties we face in today’s day and age, the necessity of self-care becomes...

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There is a great deal of work that must be done in order to bring proper attention to the epidemic that is sexual assault. We have seen grassroots advocacy in grade schools and on college campuses, where students have become activists in the fight for survivors’ rights in academic institutions. During Sexual Assault Awareness Month, organizations and individuals...

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I'm standing amidst a crowd of rabbis in the thick of a long, tumultuous autumn in Jerusalem. I can hear the sounds of people shouting, whistles blowing, and feet scuffling through the divided entrances of the Western Wall Plaza. But the most important sound is the sound of the Reform rabbi beside me, an older man who urges me to enter through the leftmost archway: "Knisa l'gvarim." My march to the Kotel begins as I walk through the men's entrance.

As I join the gathering of progressive Jews advancing through the Western Wall Plaza, the opposite crowds I face...

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In this portion, Aaron and his sons begin to officiate as kohanim (priests). Aaron’s two elder sons, Nadav and Avihu offer “alien fire” to God, and God punishes them by killing them immediately. God forbids Moses and Aaron and Aaron’s surviving sons from mourning, but commands the rest of the people to do so. Aaron was silent. How do we understand his silence, and how do we understand the idea that the community is to mourn and not the mourners?

Both my mother and mother-in-law passed away in recent months. Neither was in good health, and both had advanced Alzheimer’s. The disease...

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holding hands with text that says I believe survivors

This blog is a part of the RAC Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) blog series. The following contains depictions of sexual assault.

 As we commemorate Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), it is important to think about and discuss these issues in context of Jewish text and our Jewish values. In Jewish text, there are many examples of sexual assault, including rape, as well as domestic abuse. These narratives highlight the reality that sexual violence has existed throughout history, sometimes paralleling cases we see in society today. While there are multiple instances in...

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