ReformJudaism.org recently sat down with Rabbi Sonja K. Pilz, Ph.D., editor of the CCAR Press, to talk about a new adult education cirriculum. Here's what she had to say.
ReformJudaism.org: Why did the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) decide that now was the time to launch a new adult education curriculum?
Rabbi Sonja K. Pilz, Ph.D., editor of the CCAR Press: On one level, we saw it as a fitting way to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the 200th birthday of our founder, Isaac M. Wise. We also recognized that the...Read More
Because of my deep admiration for Michelle Alexander’s brilliant work on the unfinished tasks of civil rights, I eagerly read her recent New York Times piece, hoping she’d shed new light on the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Instead, this endlessly complicated and painful conflict was simplified in Alexander’s narrative, with Israel shouldering complete responsibility for the deplorable status quo. Right-wing voices that put the blame solely on Palestinians make the same reductionist...Read More
After finishing final exams and celebrating the end of the semester, I decided to spend some of my winter break exploring new sites in Jerusalem. Although I learned a fair amount about Israeli politics over the past few years, I had never actually been inside the Knesset (parliament) building. A close friend recently started working there, and I was excited to learn from her on a guided tour.
The tour began with relatively basic questions, pitched to a public group with vastly different levels of background knowledge:
When did the State of Israel declare its independence?...Read More
That picture – a 40-year-old blonde female rabbi – is what Jewish looks like.
I started wearing a tallit (prayer shawl) and laying tefillin (phylacteries) 15 years ago. It has taken me years to get over my internalized judgment as a woman wearing these items that are “traditionally” worn only by men. Even on the best of days, tefillin are a strange and uncomfortable feature of Jewish practice. I’ve had to consciously push myself beyond my own discomfort to own this mitzvah (commandment) that has come to mean so much to me.
Like many Jews who have invested in a davening (...Read More
B’reishit bara Elohim, in the beginning, God didn’t create the Land of Israel or the Jewish people. No, God created a wondrous universe, teeming with beauty, complexity, and possibility. Within this incomplete world, God created human beings to partner with God in shaping a world of justice and compassion. The sphere of divine concern includes not only the triumphs and trials of our people. Its reach is global, extending to all who inhabit the planet.
The fundamental question for this chapter has in many ways already been asked and answered, debated by Rabbinic sages and subjected...Read More