The mystics believe that every soul corresponds to a letter in the Torah. And, if a letter is missing, erased, or smudged, we can’t continue reading from the scroll until that letter is restored to its vibrancy. Anti-trans bills, including the two signed this past week, represent a conscious and coordinated attempt to erase trans and non-binary people from our communities and collective story. It’s time to move beyond the rhetoric of support and into life-saving action.
The word for brain isn't even in the Torah. But a lot of what is in the Torah presumes a functioning brain and even asks us to use it in certain specific ways. In particular, the brain is directly implicated by the whole realm that we call belief or faith. Judaism, like many religions, asks us to believe in certain things. Actually, in Judaism case, it doesn't just ask. It commands. We're commanded to believe in God, to believe there is only one God and to believe that that God is the one who...
Despite the many challenges the Jewish people face today, many believe that our greatest difficulty is our inability to coexist peacefully among ourselves. In our studies, we will focus on the theme of embattled siblings, which pervades the book of Genesis. We will draw a line from these narratives to the Jewish people today, noting, and suggesting possible responses to, the enduring affliction of fractiousness among “siblings.”
It’s the presence and prospect of death in our midst that makes life so precious. It’s the awareness that there’s a thin line separating it all that summons us back into life. The lungs that breathe with you, the heart that beats for you, the blood that sustains you defines both the beginning and the end of our stories. They belong to each other- just as death belongs to life and grief belongs to love.
Reparations Now: A Conversation on the CA Reparations Task Force's Findings and Proposals with Member Dr. Shery Grills, Rabbi Aryeh Cohen and Reverend Eddie Anderson.
For millennia, we’ve tried to understand how Aaron, Moshe’s brother, remained silent, even acquiescent after suffering unimaginable loss. Some say his heart turned to stone—he simply could no longer feel. Prophetic grief, in contrast, is born at the intersection of heartache and fury, and rages against reality. When experienced by not only by individuals but by the collective, bursts of prophetic rage and grief—while imperfect political movements—have the power to overturn world orders. Some...
Three times a year, the Torah instructs, we’re meant to drop everything and set off on a collective journey to a sacred destination. While these pilgrimages have disappeared from our practice, it’s worth wondering why the Torah selects this religious behavior as the primary way to capture and reanimate the core values of these holidays. Pilgrimage, it turns out, is the ideal way to tell the story of Passover.
In Pirkei Avot, we read that "A free person is
one who studies Torah." How can the study of Torah help us understand
and appreciate what it means to be free?
Rabbi Kasher’s farewell sermon, a pre-Passover reflection on the role of mitzvot in Jewish life.
Right now we find ourselves approaching Passover where we are reminded of our oppression and slavery in Egypt and our eventual path toward freedom. This year it's coinciding with proposed new national policies to turn away more asylum seekers are our borders. How can we reconcile what is happening now with our own central narrative as a people who left everything to seek freedom? What lessons can we learn about how to use our voices to fight for more justice?
Spring is springing and the month of Nissan is coming! What will your renewal and regeneration look like this year?
How our artists—then and now—transform even the deepest suffering into worlds suffused with beauty. Celebrating Betzalel, Robert Russel, and the artist within us all.
Astrologer Chani Nicholas joins Rabbi Kasher to discuss astrology in the Torah and one of the greatest Jewish thinkers who just happened to be an astrologer himself. They discuss Ibn Ezra, the intersection of Judaism and astrology, the implications astrology has for concepts like fate and freewill, and so much more.
After a week of violence, we must hear the torah of the streets of Tel Aviv. Brief reflections on the heartache and the hope.
Purim summons us to joy, but how do we access that joy when our hearts hurt from the shameful display of excessive violence this past week in Huwara? Our tradition pleads with us to linger in grief before we get to Purim, to mark a solemn day of fasting and course correction. For, the only road to real joy travels first through grief.
Parashat Terumah 5783
Entering Adar with hearts heavy from hate, our tradition reminds us of the messages embedded from the past, and their subversive claims on our future.
This is a recording of Rabbi David Kasher's Parsha class from February 23, 2023
This is a recording of Rabbi David Kasher's Parsha class from February 16, 2023
Throughout the Book of Exodus, one Hebrew word- in its many forms- pops up again and again, pointing to the core message of this master story. Life can feel unbearably heavy, but you are never alone. With each other’s help, we can transform an overpowering weight into a way forward.
Parashat B'shallah - 02.04.2023
Israel is barreling toward an unrecognizable future. Let us not sleep through the revolution.