Rabbi Naamah Kelman

Rabbi Naamah Kelman is dean of the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem. She was the first woman ordained in Israel in 1992, when no Hebrew word existed for the new role for women. Born and raised in New York, she has been living in Israel since 1976, helping to build a pluralistic, progressive, and egalitarian Jewish Israel.

The Mystery of Birth and Rebirth

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Naamah Kelman

April 22, 2015
This week's portion Tazria falls in sync with the fourth of our five pre-Purim through pre-Passover special Shabbatot, when we include special readings for Torah and haftarah.1 This week on Shabbat HaChodesh, the haftarah from Ezekiel prepares us for the important new month, the month when we celebrate our Exodus from Egypt.

Numbers, Stories, and a Long Tradition of Ritual

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Naamah Kelman

March 20, 2015
Parashat Sh'mini —the eighth day; how many of our parashiyot start with a number? This eight comes after seven, of course-seven days devoted to the ordination of Aaron and the priests, who will now take on their full responsibilities in the Tabernacle (the Mishkan). This ordination ceremony was detailed in...

An Offering of Thanksgiving

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Naamah Kelman

March 11, 2015
Both The Torah: A Modern Commentary1 and The Torah: A Women's Commentary2 offer the following midrash for this week's portion pertaining to the sacrifice of the sh'lamim given as an offering of thanksgiving: Though all sacrifices may be discontinued in the future (for in the messianic age humankind will be...

On Passover, Hope Springs Eternal

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Naamah Kelman

October 18, 2012
Only in Israel are there kosher-for-Passover buns at McDonald's. Only in Israel do non-Kosher restaurants offer you a choice of bread and/or matzah. Only in Israel do we have shelves overflowing with every possible variation of the full range of kosher-for-Passover foods; from those who eat legumes to those who...