Logo light

 

TEMPLE EMANU-EL

A Reform Jewish Community for all of Tucson
225 North Country Club • Tucson, AZ 85716
(520) 327-4501 • Fax: (520) 327-4504
 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Yom Sheini, 27 Elul 5774

    Facebook  Twitter  Youtube

To Change the World

Posted on September 10th, 2014

How do we go about changing our world? And how long should it take?

Our Torah portion this week, Ki Tavo, gives us powerful commandments about how we are to live in society. We are commanded to be moral, to protect the rights of the impoverished, the widow, and the stranger. We are to be honest in business, careful of the needs of the hungry and the homeless. We are to create a society of ethical practice and moral concern. We are to understand that a nation is judged by how it treats its weakest, neediest members. We are told repeatedly that God knows and expects us to live to this covenant, to uphold it, to cherish it, to make it our own. And we are told of the blessings that will be ours if we can do this, and the curses we will bring on ourselves if we cannot.

Read more: Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon's Weekly Torah Talk on Ki Tavo 5774

Truly Caring Community

Posted on September 3rd, 2014

This Shabbat in Temple we will read the Torah portion of Ki Teitzei from the middle section of Deuteronomy, Devarim. Ki Teitzei contains more laws than any other Torah portion, 74 in all, among them the rules that apply to warfare, laws related to safe and proper building construction, and labor laws more enlightened than those that exist in Arizona today. But there is one area of Jewish law addressed in Ki Teitzei that remains especially relevant now.

Read more: Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon's Weekly Torah Talk on Ki Teitzei 5774

And Justice for All

Posted on August 27th, 2014

Our portion this week begins with a passage that is perfect for any election year: Shoftim v'shotrim titen l'cha b'chol sh'arecha, judges and officers you shall select for yourselves in all of our gates. Deuteronomy tells us we are to choose official leaders for our cities, our regions, and, ultimately, our country. But what are the Jewish criteria for an appropriate official?

Shoftim tells us: our leaders must judge the people with righteous judgment. They must not favor the rich over the poor. They must not defer to famous or powerful individuals. They must be incorruptible, taking no bribes or influence payments. They must be scrupulously honest.

Read more: Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon's Weekly Torah Talk on Shoftim 5774

Advance Credits

Posted on August 20th, 2014

I know it's unbelievable, but public school started a week ago, Hebrew School began yesterday, Religious School kicks off this coming Sunday, and the High Holidays are coming up in just over a month. We bless the new month of Elul on this Shabbat because Rosh Chodesh Elul is next Wednesday, the beginning of the last month of the Jewish year, which we will celebrate by inaugurating our new Project Elul program of 6 AM daily connection, prayer, and inspiration. It's the time of year for us to think about the state of our relationships, to prepare to do a cheshbon hanefesh, an accounting of the state of our souls, to reflect on where we are in our lives, where we've been, and where we are headed.

Read more: Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon's Weekly Torah Talk on Re'eh 5774

Real Cardiac Jews

Posted on August 13th, 2014

Have you heard about the new movement in Judaism? It's not Reform, Conservative, or Orthodox, or even Reconstructionist or Renewal. It's "cardiac Jews." You know—"I'm Jewish in my heart." While we usually think of this as a kind of abdication, meaning "I'm Jewish in my heart but I don't do anything about it in my actual life," there is one sense in which being a cardiac Jew can have real meaning.

In the middle of our weekly Torah portion of Eikev, a great question is asked: "What does the Lord your God ask of you? "That you have awe of the Lord your God, and walk in all of God's ways and love God, and serve the Lord your God will all your heart and all your soul." But it then follows this wonderful spiritual and moral instruction with a puzzling passage in which it tells us to do something physically impossible. We are commanded to "circumcise the foreskin of our hearts." This is a new kind of b'rit milah, and one that smacks of flat-out self-murder.

Read more: Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon's Weekly Torah Talk on Eikev 5774

Page 1 of 21