Yoel H. Kahn

Rabbi Yoel Kahn is rabbi of Congregation Beth El in Berkeley, CA. He grew up in the Reform Movement and was ordained at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in 1985. He later received his Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California. His book, The Three Blessings (Oxford University Press, 2010) explores how censorship, identity, and boundaries have shaped Jewish liturgy. 

The Tabernacle of the Wise-Hearted

D'Var Torah By: Yoel H. Kahn

Focal Point Moses said further to the whole community of Israelites: This is what Adonai has commanded: Take from among you gifts to Adonai, everyone whose heart so moves him [or her] shall bring them—gifts for Adonai: gold, silver, and copper; blue, purple, and crimson yarns, fine linen, and goats'

B'haalot'cha: This Passage Is Out of Place

D'Var Torah By: Yoel H. Kahn

This week’s Torah portion, B’haalot’cha, begins with the instructions for the lifting up of “the lamps,” haneirot, to illuminate the Tabernacle. The initial letter of the word , “lamp,” neir, is nun. This same letter, nun, also marks the portion’s most distinctive passage in Numbers 10:35–36.

Whence Our Inheritance

D'Var Torah By: Yoel H. Kahn

Parashat Pinchas, one of the last parashiyot in the Book of Numbers, includes not just a diverse set of stories, but also different genres of material.

Mah Tovu--From Torah to Prayer

D'Var Torah By: Yoel H. Kahn

The Rabbis of old are collectively referred to by subsequent generations as chachameinu zichronam livrachah ( c hazal), "our teachers of blessed memory." When I take the time to fully appreciate their creativity and imagination, I too am always inspired by their memory and experience their blessing.