Welcome to the Hebrew Seminary Blog!

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We are a community of Hebrew Seminary faculty, staff, rabbinical students, lifelong learners, Kabbalists, scholars, spiritual seekers and kind supporters.

The mission of Hebrew Seminary is to train rabbis and Jewish educators to serve all Jewish communities, including the deaf community. Hebrew Seminary has been an inclusive and egalitarian community for the study and practice of Judaism since our founding in 1992.

We hope […]

By |2021-11-09T13:46:26-06:00January 1, 2021|Hebrew Seminary Blog|0 Comments

All the Letters in the Book of Numbers: Commentary on Parashat Bemidbar 5783

All the Letters in the Book of Numbers: Commentary on Parashat Bemidbar 5783

By Rabbi Jonah Rank, President and Rosh Yeshivah of Hebrew Seminary

 

On the slow news morning of Tuesday, February 10, 1885—when the same front page also reported (as an entire story), “Wheat eighteen inches high is to be seen in California”—the Boston Journal shared a new fad in American education:

 

A favorite […]

By |2023-05-19T13:50:34-05:00May 19, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Proclaim D’ror: Commentary on Parashiyyot Behar-Bechukkotai 5783

Proclaim D’ror: Commentary on Parashiyyot Behar-Bechukkotai 5783

By Rabbi Dr. Laurence Edwards, Professor Emeritus of Bible, Jewish Thought, and Jewish History; Hebrew Seminary

 

I was eight years old when Cecil B. DeMille’s film The Ten Commandments was made. Though my father was not interested in seeing the film (“I read the book,” he said), I loved it. I was moved by Elmer Bernstein’s score, and by […]

By |2023-05-12T11:46:19-05:00May 12, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Bread People From Egypt: Commentary on Parashat Emor 5783

The Bread People From Egypt: Commentary on Parashat Emor 5783

By Rabbi Jonah Rank, President & Rosh Yeshivah of Hebrew Seminary

 

I love to turn off my phone just as Shabbat approaches, and letting my computer enter “sleep mode” on the day of rest gives me calm. As I distance myself from those electric blue lights every Friday night, the natural reddish-yellowish light of the candles […]

By |2023-05-05T12:52:53-05:00May 5, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Scapegoats and Scapecoins: Commentary on Parashiyyot Acharey Mot-Kedoshim

Scapegoats and Scapecoins: Commentary on Parashiyyot Acharey Mot-Kedoshim

By Rabbi Jonah Rank, President and Rosh Yeshivah of Hebrew Seminary

 

The Titanic sank because of the Jews, argued an antisemite, riling up a mob at the bar. Fuming with anger, a Jew in the tavern put down a glass to raise a fist in the air and retorted, “Iceberg! Not Goldberg!”

So goes an old joke that must […]

By |2023-04-28T15:17:21-05:00April 28, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Fitting In Judaism: Commentary on Parashiyyot Tazri’a-Metzora 5783

Fitting In Judaism: Commentary on Parashiyyot Tazri’a-Metzora 5783

By Rabbi Jonah Rank, President and Rosh Yeshivah of Hebrew Seminary

 

Sensitive content notice: This week’s commentary discusses miscarriage.

 

New York City was a happening place then—as it continues to be—and, when I lived there, the city never lacked exceptional guest lecturers at the schools I either passed on the street or attended as a student. My rabbinical school […]

By |2023-04-21T14:32:44-05:00April 21, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

This Thing Makes God Appear: Commentary on Parashat Shemini 5783

This Thing Makes God Appear: Commentary on Parashat Shemini 5783

By Rabbi Jonah Rank, President and Rosh Yeshivah of Hebrew Seminary

 

I trust scientists when they report that bees can see ultraviolet, a color beyond the human visible spectrum. My own time using microscopes back in a high school science lab assured me that amoebae and cells compose a dynamic microbiological world that my own eyes […]

By |2023-04-14T15:45:09-05:00April 14, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Why God Loves Good Meals: Commentary on Passover 5783

Why God Loves Good Meals: Commentary on Passover 5783

By Rabbi Jonah Rank, President and Rosh Yeshivah of Hebrew Seminary

 

As we anticipate another Passover seder, our minds may be on the guests who will enter our homes and eat the food we have prepared for this holy moment. But what makes the seder the seder has never been merely the guests who grace us with […]

By |2023-04-05T12:16:42-05:00April 5, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

When Aaron Went to Eden: Commentary on Parashat Tzav 5783

When Aaron Went to Eden: Commentary on Parashat Tzav 5783

By Rabbi Jonah Rank, President and Rosh Yeshivah of Hebrew Seminary

 

When we make a big mistake, an animal impulse inside us invites us to run away—and the bigger the mistake, the farther we may wish to flee. We may wait before we reach out again to a friend we offended, whether intentionally or not. We […]

By |2023-03-31T16:03:53-05:00March 31, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Here and Wherever: Commentary on Parashat Vayyikra 5783

Here and Wherever: Commentary on Parashat Vayyikra 5783

By Rabbi Jonah Rank, President and Rosh Yeshivah of Hebrew Seminary

 

 

Translated into polite English, an old Yiddish saying roughly goes, “You can’t dance at two weddings with only one body.” Once Zoom became so prominent in the pandemic, we grew accustomed to entering spaces virtually while remaining physically at home. Somehow where we were in body was […]

By |2023-03-24T17:17:27-05:00March 24, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Head of the Heart, Through the Hand: Commentary on Parashiyyot Vayyakhel-Pekudey 5783

The Head of the Heart, Through the Hand: Commentary on Parashiyyot Vayyakhel-Pekudey 5783

By Rabbi Jonah Rank, President & Rosh Yeshivah of Hebrew Seminary

 

There are three kinds of H-Jews: Head Jews, Heart Jews, and Hand Jews. So goes a teaching that has been attributed variously to two great North American rabbis: Dr. Harold Schulweis (1925–2014) and Dr. Neil Gillman (1933–2017). The Head Jew is an […]

By |2023-03-17T13:27:12-05:00March 17, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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