My Passover seder this year was spent in the company of the small Reform Jewish community in Lisbon, Portugal.
When the Rabbis divided the Torah into its 54 parashiyot (portions), they generally arranged for each portion to begin with a unique or otherwise significant word that would in some way summarize major themes of the entire section.
When someone asked a friend of mine what his daughter enjoys most about living in Israel, he explained that she loves the way the country’s secular rhythms synch seamlessly with religious time in a way that doesn’t happen in North America. By way of example, he described Shabbat and holidays as characterized by closed shops, quiet streets, and low-key television programming.
Recently, I took my b’nai mitzvah students to the Knesset to see how liberal Jewish values are rooted in tradition and can inform Israel’s public policy decisions.