• “We Were All Once Strangers”: Emor and Inclusivity

    A d'var Torah for Emor from community organizer Cole Parke. Coming out is a defining experience for most every queer person I know. This month marks 15 years since I first shared that part of myself publicly, and these days it’s a deeply integrated part of my identity — something that is far from secret, and…
  • Praying With Our Feet

    “Praying for freedom never did me any good ‘til I started praying with my feet.” – Frederik Douglas “On the seventh day there shall be a Sabbath of complete rest, a sacred occasion.  You shall do no work.” – Leviticus 23:2-3 (Parshat Emor) We are blessed to live in a thriving democracy.  Though American and Israeli…
  • Keeping and Doing (Parshat Emor)

    Our commandments are meant to inspire us to action.

  • A Place in the Camp

    In 2009, Rabbi Stephanie Kolin lobbied at the Massachusetts State House for transgender rights. In her testimony, she shared that she had led a trip to Israel and described the reaction of one of the participants when they arrived at the Kotel, which includes separate sections for men and women: He said through his tears, ‘I…
  • “Mishpat Echad”

    At the end of parashat Emor, our rabbis focus on a single phrase, “You shall have one justice for the stranger and the citizen alike, I am the Eternal.” (Leviticus 24: 22) We have to ask ourselves: how are we doing upholding the principle of equal justice? Let us begin with the great scholar who heard…
  • The Holiness of Blemishes

    Those of us concerned for the basic human rights of the physically and mentally disabled can easily be dismayed by this week’s Torah portion, Emor. For while Leviticus promises universal access to the sacred, this portion seems to restrict direct access to God to an ever- smaller subset of a tiny priestly minority. This portion disqualifies…