Weekly Torah Portion – Vayeshev

In this week’s torah portion of “Vayeshev” Joseph tells his brothers of his dreams of them prostrating low before him. Surprisingly, or rather predictably, he finds himself in the bottom of a pit – cast away by those very same brothers. Yet, who we were is not who we will become.

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 Vayeshev. Continue reading “Weekly Torah Portion – Vayeshev”

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 30: No Bad Jews, Keeping It Real w/Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek

Episode 30: No Bad Jews, Keeping It Real w/Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek

“Life is a garden, not a road. We enter and exit through the same gate. Wandering, where we go matters less than what we notice.”

— Kurt Vonnegut

Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek has been recognized by the Jewish Forward as one of the most inspiring rabbis in America, by Hudson Valley Magazine as a Person to Watch and by Newsweek as “a rabbi to watch.” He is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute and a Fellow of the Schusterman Foundation.

Before coming to Beacon Hebrew Alliance, he served as the Rabbi-in-Residence at American Jewish World Service and the Marshall T. Meyer Fellow at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York.

Rabbi Brent holds rabbinic ordination and a Masters in Philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), where he was the first recipient of the Neubauer Fellowship.

Prior to entering the rabbinate, he attended Wesleyan University and worked as a daily journalist in Durham, NC. He lives in Beacon with his wife Alison, a professor of environmental chemistry at Vassar College and their two children. Continue reading “Episode 30: No Bad Jews, Keeping It Real w/Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek”

Episode 27: If I Show You The Real Me Will You Still Love Me? w/Elad Nehorai

Episode 27: If I Show You The Real Me Will You Still Love Me? w/Elad Nehorai

In this episode, I speak with Elad about a project that he helped launch called: Neshamas.

What is Neshamas?

“Neshamas was created because of a need we, the creators of Hevria, saw in the Jewish community: to share what’s deep, down in our souls without the added pressure of putting our names behind the work.

For reasons that vary, from communal pressure to internal shame, publicly published pieces about subjects like abuse, conversion, identity, and more can be incredibly intimidating, even dangerous.  But the value of sharing our souls, our true selves, is incalculable, and essential to the process of inner growth and acceptance.

And so we created Neshamas, a place where any Jewish person can share their souls absolutely anonymously.  In writing, art, or any other form.  There will be no judgments here. No determinations of quality of work, or whether you “deserve” to share what your soul is dying to express.  You are automatically accepted just by being here, whether you’re a reader, a sharer, or both.

Everyone here is judged as a neshama, in other words.  A soul, not a body.  Valuable simply for existing.  Names do not matter here.  Only souls.” Continue reading “Episode 27: If I Show You The Real Me Will You Still Love Me? w/Elad Nehorai”

Episode 25: Finding Your Sacred Space. Thinking Outside Of The Hillel w/Rabbi Avram Mlotek

Episode 25: Finding Your Sacred Space. Thinking Outside Of The Hillel w/Rabbi Avram Mlotek

“Yet I know that there is a small but growing number of Orthodox rabbis from across the Modern Orthodox spectrum who believe that this is where we have to be moving. I hope that in doing so as a community, queer Jews will see themselves as valued in the community and see that their rabbis are ready to celebrate their life choices of sacred covenantal marriage as well. It is not only about upholding the dignity of the human being, but upholding the dignity of the Torah itself, which emphasizes the need for loving partnership.”

Rabbi Avram Mlotek, excerpt from a recent published article of his Continue reading “Episode 25: Finding Your Sacred Space. Thinking Outside Of The Hillel w/Rabbi Avram Mlotek”

Episode 7: The Bravery Needed to Lead As Your Authentic Self w/Rabbi Rachel ‘Bluth’ Rosenbluth

Episode 7: The Bravery Needed to Lead As Your Authentic Self w/Rabbi Rachel ‘Bluth’ Rosenbluth

““My activism is an outgrowth of my spiritual and religious life. I think that if we are told to walk in the ways of the divine, and if we are created in tzelem elokim.. in the image of the divine, then the only thing that can mean is to live with compassion. To try to cultivate peace, and healing, and goodness.””

— Rachel “Bluth” Rosenbluth

Rabbi Rachel “Bluth” Rosenbluth is currently studying for rabbinic ordination at Yeshivat Har El, a co-ed Orthodox Rabbinical program in Jerusalem. She is the Founder and Educational Director of Achvat Amim Ruchani, a program for Israeli-Palestinian peace and justice volunteer work, focused on Jewish learning. Born in Toronto to two amateur Klezmorim, Bluth lives in a plant-filled home in Yafo.

Bluth graduated from McGill University in 2012, having majored in International Development Studies and Buddhism. At McGill, she had valuable experiences in community-based development and sustainable food systems through environmental field research in East Africa, and working on permaculture farms. She worked as the Director of Education for Shoresh Jewish Environmental Programs in Toronto, combining her passion for sustainability and social justice with Jewish education and community building. Continue reading “Episode 7: The Bravery Needed to Lead As Your Authentic Self w/Rabbi Rachel ‘Bluth’ Rosenbluth”

Breaking down hierarchies, holding leaders accountable, and much more.

“What are you being called to bring forth into this world?”

— Reb Misha Clebaner

The reflection on these chapters is part of the broader 929 project where you read a chapter-a-day (weekends excluded – so only 5 chapters per week) of the Tanakh/Hebrew Bible.

We are working our way towards February 2, 2022 – when we will have read the whole Hebrew Bible by then! Ahhh! Continue reading “Breaking down hierarchies, holding leaders accountable, and much more.”

Episode 2: Extra Addition to Intro – Special Guest Anabelle Harari

Episode 2: Extra Addition to Intro – Special Guest Anabelle Harari

“How do we deepen relationships with others and with ourselves? In this bonus supplement to the intro episode, I speak with Anabelle Harari about the transformative power of spiritual community.”

What started as a simple sound check to test the microphone before recording the first ever episode of the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast – ended up being a really interesting conversation in and of itself about community, prayer, and how to be our truest selves.

In episode 2 of ‘Raising Holy Sparks’, I speak with Anabelle Harari who is not only my amazing partner in life and crazy antics but is also a deep thinker about wellness – both physical and also mental. Continue reading “Episode 2: Extra Addition to Intro – Special Guest Anabelle Harari”

Episode 1: Introduction and Welcome to Raising Holy Sparks

Episode 1: Introduction and Welcome to Raising Holy Sparks

“I have always believed that within every challenge lies an opportunity, within every question lies a journey, and within every person – an inextinguishable light. Our job is to make our light shine brighter within ourselves and to see the spark of holiness in others – even when it is difficult to do so.”

In this opening episode of the ‘Raising Holy Sparks’ podcast, I share some classic Jewish stories that get at the heart of this idea of finding the good in every situation.

Welcome to the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast! So exciting! This is going to be a twice-monthly podcast for my segments with guests, and weekly for shorter teachings.

So, what’s this all about and how did we get here? Continue reading “Episode 1: Introduction and Welcome to Raising Holy Sparks”