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Man in a red sweater facing away from the camera while holding the Torah above his head

I first remember learning the famous phrase “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” etc., when I studied Hammurabi’s code back in my ninth-grade global studies class. I remember imagining how tough it must have been to live in that ancient Babylonian society.

It didn’t surprise me, though. I knew that there were many examples throughout history of brutal legal codes, and I knew some ancient societies were more brutal than others.

A few years later, in college, I encountered the following words from this week’s Torah portion,...

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Circular stained glass window featuring a Star of David with open books sitting in the window sill

I’m not sure I made a conscious choice to try daf yomi, the practice of reading a page of Talmud each day – and had I really thought about it, I might not have decided to try it at all. The idea of doing anything for at least an hour a day for seven and a half years (which is how long it takes to study the entire Talmud) is a bit overwhelming.

I didn’t think seriously about participating in the daily ritual until I read...

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Smiling woman standing outside and waving a small Israeli flag

Here we go again. Back at it. Another election in Israel, and pessimism is running high here. The odds appear low that the polls will yield politicians willing and able to create a new government.

When we Israelis go to the polls on March 2, the World Zionist Organization (WZO) – your election for the future of Israel – will have entered the last 10 days of polling. Regardless of whether Israel succeeds in getting a functioning Knesset out of our elections,...

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Colorful paper cutouts depicting a group of people

As I think about identities and intersections, I believe there is a tendency to use words to demarcate one’s whole into easily digestible parts and to see those parts as separate entities that then “intersect.” I, however, resist that framework.

I am Black, I am Jewish, and I am a lesbian, among other things – and I am all of those things at all times in every context; not parts that intersect, but a whole person who fits into different worlds and spaces. I am not at odds with myself but rather with situations, people, and environments that choose to identify me as only one thing/...

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Reform Jewish students visiting Selma, Alabama

This month, as we mark Black History Month – and, this year, the 150th anniversary of the passage of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution, which gave men of every race, including former slaves, the right to vote – it seems appropriate to share this story of a group of Reform Jewish campers from URJ Camp Coleman in Cleveland, GA, who took a four-day trip last summer to confront racial inequality and explore their own connections to work around racial justice.

We began in Whitwell, TN, where more than 20 years ago,...

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