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A Reform Jewish Community for all of Tucson
225 North Country Club • Tucson, AZ 85716
(520) 327-4501 • Fax: (520) 327-4504
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Yom Shabbat, 16 Kislev 5776

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Wrestling Back to Family

Posted on November 25, 2015

Family dynamics play a central role in the entire book of Genesis, from Adam and Eve—and their loving sons Cain and Abel—through the intricacies of Joseph’s awful relationships with his brothers.  When you begin a book with the first older brother in history murdering his younger sibling, and continue it through a series of terrible intra-family rivalries, you can easily claim that the Torah teaches us all about family life by showing us how not to do it.

Read more: Rabbi Cohon’s Weekly Torah Talk on Vayishlach 5776



Arguing for God’s Sake

Posted on November 19, 2015

We Jews are good people.  We care.  We give tzedakah at an exceptionally high rate, proportionally, if not always quite enough to our own synagogue.  We are at the forefront of every good cause, seeking to improve the world.  We know that tikun olam, improving the world is not something we can count on other people to do, and we expect to have to work hard to fix whatever is broken in our society and in our world.  And we do so.

But that doesn’t necessarily make us easy to get along with.  We can be a little testy, and just a trifle argumentative. That’s the Jewish way.  If we are awake, we are probably arguing, two Jews, three opinions, and four synagogues, including the one you wouldn’t be caught dead in...

Read more: Rabbi Cohon’s Weekly Torah Talk on Vayeitzei 5776



Both Sides Now

Posted on November 11, 2015

This week’s Torah portion of Toldot includes the treachery of Jacob and the foolishness of Esau, the famous story of brotherly rivalry that sets in motion this central tale in Genesis.  It is a story of fraternal twins who are anything but fraternal in their interactions.  Jacob is a lover of tents, a homebody, whose mother loves him; Esau a hunter and outdoorsman, a man active in the extreme and more or less devoid of thought. 

Read more: Rabbi Cohon’s Weekly Torah Talk on Toldot 5776



Negotiating the Future

Posted on November 4, 2015

Negotiation gets a bad rap these days.  Many people see the give-and-take necessary to reach consensus as a kind of moral compromise, a sacrifice of ideals on the false-idol altar of base pragmatism.  Compromise?  Consensus?  Agreement?  Not words we hear much in an election year…

But real progress in this world is usually the result of the masah-umatan, the “horsetrading” and “logrolling” that allow society to solve its problems and attain new and important accomplishments. Where difference of opinion exists, and it always does, reasonable negotiation eventually leads to productive resolution.  The Torah teaches that lesson in this week’s portion of Chayei Sarah. 

Read more: Rabbi Cohon’s Weekly Torah Talk on Chayei Sarah 5776



The Good News/Bad News Dichotomy

Posted on October 28, 2015

Members of the Board of Directors are visiting the rabbi, who is in the hospital.  “I have good news and bad news,” the delegation leader says.

“What’s the good news?” the rabbi asks.

“The board voted to wish you a refuah shleimah, a speedy healing.”

“Thank you!” says the rabbi.  “But what’s the bad news?”

And the delegation leader says, “The vote was 10 to 9.”

Good news/bad news indeed…

Read more: Rabbi Cohon’s Weekly Torah Talk on Vayera 5776