RJ Blog

L’hitraot, for Now...

After four years of bringing you a new episode nearly every week, this podcast is taking a little break. Listen to this episode to learn more about our hiatus and where to find us in the meantime.

The Antidote to Kvetching

Most of us today aren’t tasked with wandering through the desert, like the ancient Israelites were... but we still find plenty to kvetch about! What if, instead of focusing on small annoyances, we turned to community-building and togetherness? This episode first aired in May 2018.

URJ Youth

Why Do We Exist?

Why Do We Exist?

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Stacy Rigler

jemerman November 15, 2022
We see glimpses of Rebecca's inner dialogue at the beginning and end of this week's Torah portion. In the opening verses of Parashah Tol'dot, Rebecca becomes pregnant with twins.

God’s Favorites

God’s Favorites

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Stacy Rigler

jemerman November 15, 2022
The Torah portion this week shows the effects of choosing one person over another. As a rabbi educator, I know that investing in every member of the community and ensuring they know they are valued contributes to our ability to thrive and grow.

On the Other Hand

Reform Movement Leaders Celebrate Passage of the Respect for Marriage Act

"We celebrate the bipartisan Senate passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, a historic bill that protects marriage equality for same-sex and interracial couples."

Reform Jewish Leader Responds to Bomb Attacks in Israel

We are sickened by this morning’s double terror attack in Jerusalem that killed 16-year-old Aryeh Shechopek and injured dozens of others.

RJ Blog Social Justice

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Jewish Man

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Jewish Man jemerman November 29, 2022

Two films from acclaimed Jewish filmmakers have debuted during award season this year, each taking semi-autobiographical looks at troubled childhoods. Each picture delivers award-worthy performances from many well-known actors, including Anthony Hopkins and Michelle Williams as sure bets to score Oscar nominations.

Affirming and Loving Transgender, Non-Binary, and Gender Expansive Grandchildren

Affirming and Loving Transgender, Non-Binary, and Gender Expansive Grandchildren jemerman November 22, 2022

The Union for Reform Judaism, Jewish Grandparents Network, and Keshet are collaborating on a series of conversations to support grandparents and other loving adults who are interested in providing affirming spaces for gender expansive, non-binary, and transgender young people. These sessions provide grandparents with foundational knowledge, shared language, and inclusive practices.

RJ Blog Jewish Life

Grow a Good Citizen

Grow a Good Citizen sdolgov August 15, 2022

Here are some ways to to make a difference by engaging voters and children.

Two Out of Two

Two Out of Two jemerman February 15, 2022

As a graduate of both Tougaloo College and Jackson State University, the recent bomb threats to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are personal to me. Since January 2022, over a dozen HBCUs have received bomb threats; several of those threats were received on the first day of Black history month. The continuous attacks on institutions of higher learning; places of worship and individual attacks are a direct threat to our everyday existence.

RJ Blog Practice

Take a Tour of the Torah!

Take a Tour of the Torah! jemerman October 4, 2022

Torah usually refers to the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Running through these stories is the unique lens through which the Jewish people would come to view their world and their God.

Weaving Together Formal and Lived Jewish Education

Weaving Together Formal and Lived Jewish Education jemerman August 16, 2022

I'm a self-proclaimed book worm. Since I could read, my default setting has been to research anything new at the library before implementing it. However, adulthood has taught me that some of the best lessons are learned after acting and truly living, which is why Rabbi Yanklowitz's perspective so resonates with me. Even so, I always start new adventures by studying.

RJ Blog Learning

My Shabbat Castle

My Shabbat Castle jemerman October 25, 2022

Since childhood, Friday night dinner has held a special place in my week. My mother lit candles and set the table with an embroidered cloth and pink china. My father recited blessings over a silver kiddush cup filled with wine and an ornate oval plate that held the challah.

Rereading – and Reimagining – Sacred Story

Rereading – and Reimagining – Sacred Story jemerman October 3, 2022

"Tell me a story" is a constant refrain for those of us with children in our lives. Almost as often, when the last page is turned, the child looks up and asks, "again?" Sometimes, this is a joy. Sometimes, re-reading, and re-reading some more, becomes a burden.

RJ Blog Jewish Holidays

Aliyah to Israel is a Reform Value, Too!

Aliyah to Israel is a Reform Value, Too! jemerman October 18, 2022

There are a few days in my life that stand out. There are the big milestones: my first days of school, going to camp for the first time, and my first homerun. Another one of those dates that stands out is December 28th, 2015. That was the day that I made aliyah and became an Israeli citizen.

Keeping Family Close, Regardless of Distance

Keeping Family Close, Regardless of Distance jemerman September 21, 2022

As I boarded the plane to Israel in the summer of 2002 for my first year of rabbinical school at HUC in Jerusalem, my mother said, "Please, just don't meet an Israeli." As soon as the plane touched down at Ben Gurion airport, I knew that I was home. A few months later, I met that Israeli. From our first conversation, he understood that I was studying to be a rabbi, and I understood that he wanted to live only in Israel.

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RJ Blog Israel

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Parenting