Weekly Parshah Reflections – Vayera

What are the connections between laughing and crying? It’s all just air and water.. shortness of breath in our lungs and tears in our eyes. This weeks Torah portion of “Vayera” has two pivotal stories involving these actions. A reminder of the importance of showing how we are feeling.

Welcome to the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast! Hope you enjoy these short weekly insights into the torah portion! This week we dive deep into the Parshah of Vayera. Continue reading “Weekly Parshah Reflections – Vayera”

Weekly Parshah Reflections – Lech Lecha

This week, we look at the parshah of Lech Lecha – of Abraham’s journey to the land that God will show him. This section raises interesting questions about ownership of land.. but perhaps that is the wrong question.

Welcome to the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast! Hope you enjoy these short weekly insights into the torah portion! This week we dive deep into the Parshah of Lech Lecha. Continue reading “Weekly Parshah Reflections – Lech Lecha”

Premier of Season Two of the ‘Raising Holy Sparks’ Podcast

In this opening episode of Season 2 of the ‘Raising Holy Sparks’ podcast, we begin our adventure into the weekly torah portions with the first parshah of Beresheit from the Book of Genesis.

Welcome to the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast! Hope you enjoy the short weekly insights into the torah portion! Continue reading “Premier of Season Two of the ‘Raising Holy Sparks’ Podcast”

Episode 42: Fighting the Erasure of Women in Judaism w/Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll

Episode 42: Fighting the Erasure of Women in Judaism w/Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll

In my work – I don’t fight Torah… I fight FOR Torah. That’s really important to me to make that distinction.”

– Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll

Raised in Lakewood, NJ, Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll now lives in Israel with her family. She raises awareness of issues that plague the Jewish and world community. Topics she takes on include child sex abuse, women in Judaism, Israel-Arab conflict, and general human stupidity. She is a founding member of Chochmat Nashim, a organization dedicated to positive change in the Jewish community. Professionally, as co founder of REACH3K, she brands and writes for some of Israel’s best nonprofits & businesses.

Shoshanna also writes for The Jerusalem Post and blogs for the Times of Israel, The 5%Club and Reach3K. Continue reading “Episode 42: Fighting the Erasure of Women in Judaism w/Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll”

Episode 41: Joining The Tribe w/Rabbi Adam Greenwald

Episode 41: Joining The Tribe w/Rabbi Adam Greenwald

The only thing truly within our power, may be whether or not we will behave in each moment with arrogance or reverence.”

– Rabbi Lawrence Kushner

Rabbi Adam Greenwald is the Director of the Miller Introduction to Judaism Program at American Jewish University, the largest learning program for those exploring conversion to Judaism in North America. He also serves as Lecturer in Rabbinics at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. In 2014, Rabbi Greenwald was named one of “America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis” by the Jewish Daily Forward. In 2016, Rabbi Greenwald received the Covenant Foundation’s Pomegranate Prize in Jewish Education.

Rabbi Greenwald is the editor of On One Foot, an introduction to Judaism textbook and curriculum, in wide use across the US and Canada. He is a Fellow with the National Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL)’s “Rabbis Without Borders” initiative and speaks and teaches nationwide on issues of conversion, inclusion, and engagement of Jewish millennials. His writings have also appeared in the Washington Post, and he is a regular contributor to the Ziegler School’s widely distributed “Today’s Torah” and Jewish Values Online.

Prior to coming to the Intro Program, he served as Revson Rabbinic Fellow at IKAR, one of America’s most innovative spiritual communities. He received his BA in History from UCLA and his MA and ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2011. He is married to Anne Hromadka, an art curator and consultant. Continue reading “Episode 41: Joining The Tribe w/Rabbi Adam Greenwald”

Episode 40: Life After Addiction and Recovery w/Rabbi Ilan Glazer

Episode 40: Life After Addiction and Recovery w/Rabbi Ilan Glazer

The day you were born is the day God decided the world could not exist without you.”

– Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

Rabbi Ilan Glazer is a freelance rabbi, speaker, and transformation coach. He hosts the Torah of Life podcast . Rabbi Ilan has worked with many Jewish environmental and social justice organizations.

He recently published “And God Created Recovery: Jewish Wisdom to Help You Break Free From Your Addiction, Heal Your Wounds, and Unleash Your Inner Freedom.”

Rabbi Ilan has brought his unique blend of Torah, humor, music, and insights from the disciplines of storytelling, personal growth and public speaking to synagogues, schools, JCC’s, retreat centers, and army bases throughout the Jewish world.

Rabbi Ilan was ordained in 2012 by ALEPH: The Alliance for Jewish Renewal. He has a B.A. in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the City College of New York. He also studied at Pardes and with Nava Tehila in Jerusalem. He completed trainings in the art of Sacred Hebrew Chant with Rabbi Shefa Gold, in ritual theatre with Storahtelling, and was ordained as a Maggid, a Jewish inspirational storyteller, by Maggid Yitzhak Buxbaum, and is also a Distinguished Toastmaster. Continue reading “Episode 40: Life After Addiction and Recovery w/Rabbi Ilan Glazer”

Episode 39: It All Started in the Desert; w/Rabbi Mike Comins

Episode 39: It All Started in the Desert; w/Rabbi Mike Comins

Ever-lasting life You have implanted with us.

-Jewish Prayer

Rabbi Mike Comins grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from UCLA with a BA in Near Eastern Studies, and served as Rosh Eida at UAHC Camp Swig before making aliyah (moving to Israel) at age 26.

While guiding Jerusalem for American youth and serving as chairperson of Netzer Olami (the International Reform-Zionist Youth Movement), Rabbi Mike studied classical Jewish texts for four years at Machon Pardes, a yeshiva in Jerusalem. In 1996, he was ordained by the Hebrew Union College – Israeli Rabbinical Program.

Rabbi Comins founded TorahTrek Spiritual Wilderness Adventures in 2001 while serving the Jackson Hole Chaverim in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The community’s first resident rabbi, Rabbi Mike helped the Jackson Jewish community establish itself while developing TorahTrek.

Rabbi Comins returned to Los Angeles in 2004, where he met his wife-to-be, Jody Porter. He continued to grow TorahTrek and turned it into a non-profit (2009).

A Wild Faith: Jewish Ways into Wilderness, Wilderness Ways into Judaism (2007) and his second book, Making Prayer Real: Leading Jewish Spiritual Voices on Why Prayer is Difficult and What to Do about It (2010).

In each, Rabbi Comins developed his “spiritual dynamics” approach to learning and teaching Judaism as a spiritual practice.

While TorahTrek no longer sponsors its own programs, he continues to lead nature and wilderness programs for synagogues and other organizations. Continue reading “Episode 39: It All Started in the Desert; w/Rabbi Mike Comins”

Episode 38: Surprising Alliances in the Pursuit of Welcoming the Stranger w/Rabbi Susan Silverman

Episode 38: Surprising Alliances in the Pursuit of Welcoming the Stranger w/Rabbi Susan Silverman

The whole world is a narrow bridge and the most important part is not to be afraid. This does not mean banishing fear, but rather living with it.

-Rabbi Susan Silverman on Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

Rabbi Susan Silverman is an activist and writer . She is the sister of Laura, an actress and writer, Jodyne (Speyer), a writer, and Sarah, an actress, writer and comedian.

In 1997 she and her husband wrote the bestselling book Jewish Family & Life: Traditions Holidays and Values for Todays Parents and Childrenwhich launched a Jewish multimedia enterprise, JewishFamily.com. They have five children by both birth and adoption and live in Jerusalem. She is also the author of Casting Lots: Creating a Family in a Beautiful, Broken World (Da Capo 2106).

Rabbi Susan Silverman’s upbringing was secular-Jewish. Her parents’ “religion” was liberal politics. Something Rabbi Susan still believes is worthy devotion!

Today Rabbi Susan Silverman’s rabbinic work includes activism on behalf of asylum seekers in Israel, advocating for liberal Judaism and promoting adoption. She is a founder of KAMOCHA: A Jewish Response to Refugees, on the Board of Directors of Women of the Wall, on the International Council of The New Israel Fund and the Founding Director of Second Nurture: Every Child Deserves a Family – And a Community. Continue reading “Episode 38: Surprising Alliances in the Pursuit of Welcoming the Stranger w/Rabbi Susan Silverman”

Episode 37: The Mystical Joy of Judaism and Love in Sufism w/Netanel Miles-Yépez

Episode 37: The Mystical Joy of Judaism and Love in Sufism w/Netanel Miles-Yépez

The Ego is driving the car when you are not paying attention.

-Netanel Miles-Yépez

Netanel Miles-Yépez is a teacher of religion and Pir of the Inayati-Maimuni lineage of Sufism, co-founded with his teacher, Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, fusing the Sufi and Hasidic principles of spirituality and practice espoused by Rabbi Avraham Maimuni in 13th-century Egypt with the teachings of the Ba’al Shem Tov and Hazrat Inayat Khan.

Miles-Yépez is the translator of My Love Stands Behind a Wall: A Translation of the Songs of Songs and Other Poems (2015), and co-author of A Heart Afire: Stories and Teachings of the Early Hasidic Masters (2009).

Netanel is currently a professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Naropa University. Continue reading “Episode 37: The Mystical Joy of Judaism and Love in Sufism w/Netanel Miles-Yépez”