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On the Other Hand: Ten Minutes of Torah

On the Other Hand: Ten Minutes of Torah, a podcast presented by ReformJudaism.org. Each week, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union For Reform Judaism, will offer divrei Torah (insights into the weekly Torah portion) to help open up Jewish thought and its contemporary influence on your life. He condenses 2,000 years of Jewish wisdom into just 10 minutes of modern-day commentary. There are plenty of ways to interpret Torah and we want to hear what you think. You can weigh in on this week’s Torah portion by talking to us on Twitter @URJ or at Facebook.com/reformjudaism.
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Now displaying: 2018
May 21, 2018

This week, Rabbi Jacobs is joined by Rabbi Tom Gutherz and Rabbi Rachel Schmelkin of Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville, VA. They discuss Parashat Naso, their experience at Shabbat services during the white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, the current state of Charlottesville, and what it means to fight for social justice with an interfaith community.

May 14, 2018

Parashat B’midbar is the first parashah in the Book of Numbers, and it’s called the Book of Numbers because it opens with a census. In this episode of On the Other Hand, Rabbi Jacobs uses the occasion to think about contemporary numbers, including a few particular surveys that the Reform Movement has been part of, that give a new and exciting window into Jewish life.

May 7, 2018

Parashat B’har features an important teaching on environmental justice: that we are to be respectful of our land. Many Reform Jews express their respect for the environment with action, and many Reform congregations have gone zero-waste or are GreenFaith certified. In this episode of On the Other Hand, Rabbi Jacobs discusses why it’s so important that we respect the environment, and shares some easy ways to do so.

Apr 30, 2018

Tucked at the very end of Parashat Emor we meet Shlomit bat Divri, the only woman whose name we learn in Leviticus. But, why do we learn her name and not others? In this episode of On the Other Hand, Rabbi Rick Jacobs discusses the theories of different commentators, including, surprisingly, Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Apr 23, 2018

Parashat Acharei Mot/K’doshim includes the holiness code, which, among the holy obligations about relationships and holidays, includes business ethics. These ethics aren’t just for folks who work in business—these ethics apply to everyone, and are some of the most challenging obligations that the Torah gives. In this episode of On the Other Hand, Rabbi Rick Jacobs discusses why it’s so important to consider ethics in every corner of life.

Apr 16, 2018

Parashat Tazria-M’tzora includes teachings about the ancient disease of leprosy and those who were lepers, people who were were cast out of their communities.   Their illness wasn’t seen as a cause of biology, but as punishment for sin. In this episode of On the Other Hand, Rabbi Jacobs describes how in many ways, the treatment of lepers in biblical times parallels the treatment of the Jewish people throughout time.

Apr 9, 2018

This year, we read Parashat Sh’mini, the same week that we observe Yom HaShoah. We’re still overcome with the extraordinary pain and loss of the Holocaust, and we ask: how do we commemorate? Rabbi Jacobs explores this question in this week’s episode of On the Other Hand.

Apr 2, 2018

Parashat Sh'mini details which foods are and are not kosher. And during Passover, there are even more rules to follow when it comes to food. What is there to gain from restricting what we eat? Rabbi Rick Jacobs gives his take in this episide of On the Other Hand.

 

Mar 26, 2018

It’s almost Passover! One thing that makes Passover special is where you celebrate it—in your home, at the home of a friend or family member, or at a community seder. Across all of these different sedarim and celebrations, people have their own traditions and their own adaptions. In this episode of On the Other Hand, Rabbi Rick Jacobs discusses the new traditions and adaptations that he’s encountered which you may like too.

Mar 19, 2018

Parashat Tzav is the second portion in the Book of Leviticus, and it’s said in the midrash that a child’s Torah education should start with Leviticus. So, while we read a book that is for our youngest leaders, let us follow our youngest leaders: those who are fighting against gun violence. In this episode of On the Other Hand, Rabbi Jacobs stresses the importance of fighting alongside, and for, our children.

Mar 12, 2018

Parashat Vayikra is the first portion of the Book of Leviticus. Vayikra describes a lot that might not directly resonate with modern spiritual life, but it still offers much for us to think about. What’s the point of these parashiyot that don’t apply to our daily lives? Rabbi Rick Jacobs gives his answer in this episode of On the Other Hand.

Mar 5, 2018

Michael Arad, the visionary architect who designed New York’s National 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site, joins Rabbi Rick Jacobs in this episode of On the Other Hand. They discuss the double portion of Vayak’heil-P’kudei, what it means when a space fosters community, and Arad’s design for a pluralistic prayer space at the Western Wall.

Feb 26, 2018

Parashat Ki Tisa features what is arguably one of Judaism’s most powerful teachings: no matter how busy you are, and no matter how important the task at hand is, you must rest. In this episode, Rabbi Rick Jacobs discusses the power and importance of Shabbat, and what Shabbat looks like for Reform Jews today.

Feb 19, 2018

Parashat T’tzaveh goes into detail about the ritual garments and dress of the ancient high priests. In almost every religious community, the leaders wear distinctive garments that make their roles clear in their respective communities. In this episode of On the Other Hand, Rabbi Jacobs wonders whether those who wear these garments are the only spiritual leaders in their communities, and shares a touching story about one of his own unexpected spiritual leaders.

Feb 12, 2018

In Parashat T'rumahGod asks the Israelites for gifts and there are so many different ways and reasons that people give - but is there a best way? Rabbi Rick Jacobs discusses different perspectives on giving in this episode of On the Other Hand.

 

Feb 5, 2018

Near the end of Parashat Mishpatim, God tells Moses to go to the mountain, and to “be there.” Why would God tell Moses to “be there” after already telling him exactly where to be? In this episode of On the Other Hand, Rabbi Rick Jacobs poses the idea that God wants to make sure Moses is  spiritually, emotionally, and mentally present—and that being present in that way is just as important for all of us today as it was for Moses.

Jan 29, 2018

In this episode of On the Other Hand, Rabbi Jacobs talks with Rabbi Judy Schindler.  They discuss Parashat Yitro, expanding the tent of Jewish life, the legacy passed down by her father, social justice activism, and Rabbi Schindler's book Recharging Judaism.  Rabbi Schindler is the Sklut Professor of Jewish Studies and Director of the Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice at Queens University of Charlotte and Rabbi Emerita at Temple Beth El in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Jan 22, 2018

In Parashat B'shalach, the Israelites arrive at the Sea of Reeds, the sea parts, and they walk across dry land toward freedom. Before they cross, though, there's a moment where Moses stands in front of the sea, and he has no idea what to do. He obviously figures it out... but how? Rabbi Jacobs discusses Parashat B'shalach, and the difference between action and prayer, in this episode of On the Other Hand: Ten Minutes of Torah.

Jan 15, 2018

Parashat Bo features the four famous words, "let my people go,” a refrain for countless communities seeking freedom. In this episode of On the Other Hand: Ten Minutes of Torah, Rabbi Jacobs discusses some of those communities, and how the Israelites' fight for liberation inspired and fueled their movements.

Jan 8, 2018

This week, Rabbi Jacobs discusses Parashat Va-eira. Parashat Va-eira is read during Shabbat Tzedek, right before we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, and it's fitting that this parashah tells the story of the Israelites' exodus from Egypt. What can we learn about social justice from this story? Listen to this episode of On the Other Hand: Ten Minutes of Torah to find out.

Jan 1, 2018

Happy 2018! In our first episode of the secular new year, Rabbi Rick Jacobs welcomes guest host and friend Reverend Frederick A. Davie, Executive Vice President of Union Theological Seminary. Together, they discuss parashat Sh’mot and our individual capacity to drive change in the world. They wonder: What motivates us to take action – and what are the parameters for change?

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