In Parashat Emor, the verses in Leviticus 23:1-44 name and describe the sacred times of the Jewish calendar: Shabbat, Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, and the Pilgrimage Festivals of Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot. Time becomes a holy thing, and the "normalcy" of time — of one day being no different than any other — is forever differentiated by the weekly Sabbath and by these special festive days.
I grew up in a home with my single mother and two sisters. My mother had one sister, two nieces, and one nephew. When my mother died, our synagogue shipped in the men of the traveling shiva minyan to say Kaddish for her the night of her funeral.
Last night, in both Phoenix and Jerusalem, those who benefit most from the status quo rallied to defend it, vilifying those seeking change and social progress.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to consider how we can help prevent and treat mental illness – including the agonizing scourge of clinical depression. It’s also the month leading up to Shavuot, when we read the Book of Ruth. The story of Ruth and Naomi includes powerful lessons about how relationships and community can restore and sustain those facing difficult times.