Steven Kushner

A Legacy of Kindness, Generosity, and Love

D'Var Torah By: Ellen M. Umansky, PHD

Ironically, this week's Torah portion, Chayei Sarah ("Sarah lived"), is not about Sarah's life but about her legacy. Beginning with mention of her death and of Abraham's great mourning for her, the parashah primarily focuses on the Bible's first story of betrothal, namely that of Isaac to his cousin Rebekah. The relationship between their engagement and subsequent marriage, and Sarah's legacy becomes clear as the parashah unfolds.

Five Women Whose Names We Should All Remember

D'Var Torah By: Steven Kushner

The story of the daughters of Zelophehad (Numbers 27:1-11) has all of the earmarks of a Jane Austen novel: the disenfranchisement and injustices borne by women surrounding the question of inheritance rights; the formal but respectful articulation of the grievances of those women; the dramatic and triumphant vindication of their

Whose Word Is It Anyway?

D'Var Torah By: Steven Kushner

"Blessed is the One who spoke and the world came to be . . ." ( P 'sukei D'zimrah, morning liturgy). It is among the most central of Jewish values. The power of the word. God created the universe by "speaking" it into being.

Holy Cow

D'Var Torah By: Steven Kushner

It is the most enigmatic mitzvah in all of Torah: the parah adumah, the "red heifer." If a person comes in contact with a human corpse, she or he must go for ritual cleansing.