Almost everybody knows the story of Noach. God tells Noach that there is going to be a flood that will destroy all living things, and it’s up to Noach to build an ark in order to save his family and repopulate the Earth. But how many of us have looked deeper into the story, and noticed those details that may not jump out at first look? Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, discusses those details that often get left out of the story, and even tells us how those details relate to our current US election.
This week we enter the beginning of a brand new cycle of Torah reading with a parashah that has become controversial in today’s political climate: B’reishit (in the beginning). The creation of the world is described beautifully and poetically in the Torah, but in our world where we’re always trying to figure out what’s true and what’s false, people seem to get stuck on this first portion of Genesis. Listen to Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, describe his interpretation of B’reishit, and the difference between factual and moral truth.
Five days after Yom Kippur, we turn our gaze out to the world around us and take notice of the harvest season. Sukkot is a holiday that teaches us to appreciate what we have, while reminding us that life is fragile. Just like a sukkah, everything is fleeting, and everything is temporary. Listen to Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, discuss how Sukkot reminds us to have empathy for those who are in need, and to enjoy life.
Parashat Haazinu includes the word tzur, or rock, eight times. But in this case, tzur isn’t referring to just any rock; it’s referring to God, as the rock of Israel. Sometimes, a rock can have a positive connotation, like our friends that are always there for us. But other times, it can signify something that’s cold, unfeeling, and unbending. What can be understood about these conflicting implications of a rock when we’re talking about God and the High Holidays? Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, discusses Parashat Haazinu, and tzur yisrael, God as the rock of Israel.
Parashat Vayeilech is read between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, a time of transition for all of us. We've brought in the new year with hopes, prayers, and the shofar, and we look toward Yom Kippur, where we are tasked with letting go of the last year and moving forward. Letting go and coming to terms with change can be difficult. What does the Torah teach us about how to move on? Listen to Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, discuss Parashat Vayeilech and the sacred art of letting go.