Rabbi Dalia Samansky loves Thanksgiving. But family gatherings can often be fraught. “As much as we’d all love to have a big happy family that gets along, this is not always the case,” she says. The Bible, too, is full of dysfunctional families and imperfect people. Perhaps “we don’t have to be perfect to be loved.”
“I have never shied away from engaging the political process,” said Rabbi Ammi Hirsch on the recent elections in the U.S. and Israel. Pointing out the need to constantly cultivate democracy and guard against the dangers of extremism, he explained: “I view my role as holding politicians morally accountable for the support and promotion of rhetoric and policies that impact upon millions of people.”
“Unlike other species, humans have trouble living in the moment,” says Rabbi Samantha Natov. “Sometimes we get stuck in the past when we need to keep moving, but sometimes we need to look back in order to learn how to move forward.”
Israel went to the polls this week, and it’s very possible the new government will include ministers “who preach intolerance and hatred,” says Rabbi Tracy Kaplowitz. But no matter how we feel about the results, we don’t receive permission to abandon Israel. “If we don’t believe our bond is unbreakable, we risk forgoing our part in the continuity of our people.”
This week’s parashah describes the construction of the Tower of Babel, and the scattering of all the peoples of the earth. Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch presents differing interpretations of the tower builders’ transgression and the contemporary significance for our times.
“These last few weeks, Kanye West has peddled old vile antisemitic tropes,” says Rabbi Sam Natov. “There is no excuse or explanation for his hateful words. Trying to find one is a waste of time. We need to call out antisemitism any time we hear it. Every single time.”