• Purim Reminds Us Rights Shouldn’t Be Tied to the Whims of Rulers

    A D'var Torah for Purim by Rabbi Micah Buck-Yael As a Queer and Trans Jew, Purim has long held a special place in my heart as a holiday that envisions a world in which oppression can be turned upside down, in which coming out can be liberatory and world-changing, and miracles come to life through the…
  • Purim Newsletters

    Each year for Purim, T'ruah publishes a parody of our monthly newsletter. Because when human rights is your (gluten-free, whole wheat) bread and (organic, grass-fed, free-range) butter, you gotta laugh sometimes. Our 2019 one features "mergers in the Jewish community," "new programs for toddlers," "Independent Minyan movement condemns Sanctuary Cities," "protest signs that didn't make the cut,"…
  • Are Scepters Only for Boys? (Purim)

    Commentary on the Book of Esther.  “Oh, there’s no such thing as boy things and girl things. It’s just whatever you like.” Such was my 7-year-old son’s gently delivered and matter-of-fact response when another child firmly told him that flowers and hearts are “girl things.” Faced with the notion that gender is a binary (there are…
  • Fair Trade Your Purim Mishloach Manot

    On Purim, it is traditional to give mishloach manot, packages of treats, to friends and family. When you fill yours with fairly traded chocolate and coffee, ordered through our partnership with Equal Exchange, you will be fighting modern-day slavery and child labor, while also helping support T'ruah. Through our Jewish Fair Trade Project you can choose…
  • This Torah Has No Room For Hatred

    Like all congregational rabbis, I frequently give eulogies for the deceased, and walk with their families to bury them. Jewish tradition prioritizes remembering the dead. It is a mitzvah gedolah—a great mitzvah—to give a eulogy that breaks the hearts of the listeners and highlights the praiseworthy deeds deceased, while simply forgetting his or her failings. (YD…
  • Packaging a Mitzvah

    Purim is almost here and in my home we are busy preparing our Mishloach Manot baskets to deliver to family and friends. It’s important to me that we select only the finest products to fulfill this important mitzvah of Purim, so I always look for an American equivalent of Pri Etz Hadar (the beautiful etrog); vine ripened…
  • Your Joy Is Your Sorrow Unmasked

    A week ago Sunday, marked by the new moon of the Jewish month of Adar, I spent the day at the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Northeast Philadelphia, bearing witness to the desecration of 539 gravestones. Joining with Muslim, Quaker and Christian neighbors, people of faith and conscience, our hands in the earth restoring headstones, as testimony…
  • Safe Homes. Healthy Relationships. Strong Women.

    A number of years ago, my good friend Shira and I dressed up for Purim festivities on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. My costume consisted of platform sandals, bell-bottoms, and a bohemian tunic, my hair parted down the middle and secured with a colorful head-band. Shira wore blue jeans, a tiara, and a black t-shirt…