Rabbi Deena Cowans: Parashat Emor Parashat Emor and Disability Justice

Rabbi Cowans addresses the conflict over the different standards for people with “normative” bodies and people with “other” bodies, and how the text seems discriminatory and ableist. She raises the concept that sacrificial work in the Temple was physically challenging. However, she asks, ‘why shouldn’t the Torah be more inclusive?’ She continues to say that “the messianic future is not one without disability. It is one where inclusion is innate.”

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, z/l: Parashat Emor The Duality of Jewish Time

Holiness of time is the key essence of Emor in its list of festivals and holy days. Rabbi Sacks reminds us that the first thing God declared holy was a day: Shabbat. The first mitzvah was the command to sanctify time. The Prophets were the first people in history to see time itself “as the arena of the Divine-human encounter”. Rabbi Sacks continues to address the myriad was in which the holiness of time forms an essential aspect of Judaism.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, z/l: Acharei Mot Holy People, HolyLand

Rabbi Sacks explores the theme of why Jews need their own land. On the one hand, the Torah is based on the theme of the promised land, and the journey there. On the other hand, cannot Judaism be practiced anywhere? The text of the parashah stipulates exile from the land for defiling the laws. Parashat Bechukotai also makes the same stipulation. He raises the issue that “Jews never relinquished the dream of return.”

Solidarity Concert May 12

Solidarity Concert May 12 at 4:00 pm — honoring Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut — at Congregation B’nai Israel in Tustin.  Performers will include Cantors Heather Hoopes Seid,  Elisa Waltzman, and Andrew Pascal, as well as other musicians and performers. 

Amusing Jews

Check out the new YouTube channel “Amusing Jews”, celebrating Jews who have made offbeat contributions to American popular culture.  Cantor Dr. Jonathan Friedmann and Rabbi Joseph Angel-Field have featured such notables as Fred Agree, the first Jew to complete the Iditarod in Alaska, and Gary Lassin, proprietor of the Stoogeum (Three Stooges Museum).