Category Archives: Taste of Torah

Wear Sunscreen

Taste of Torah by Rafi Glazer, AJSS Director of Programs

Wear Sunscreen. This advice, while logical and straightforward, is also the beginning of one of the most common graduation songs of the late 90’s. Written first as a commencement day speech and turned into a spoken word song, it contains a large list of tips and advice to get the most out of life. As we get to the end of AJSS’s 65 Summer of Service, many adages come to mind that can be included in this week’s Taste of Torah. Like any good graduation or commencement speech, there are plenty of sayings that could be featured as information to pass on to a graduating class. As we will see below, there is no end to the helpful advice that we can get from a song like “Wear Sunscreen” or from this week’s Torah Portion. ...

The Time is Now

Taste of Torah, by Rafi Glazer, Director of Programs

Ah, a trip down memory lane. Sometimes it can end in “remember the good times” while other times it can result in “what were we thinking?” Either way, memories can help us remember where we have gone and what we have done. That is why phrases like “back in the day” and #tbt have become part of our lexicon. Whether from the week before or from what feels like a lifetime ago, memories can be that connector to others, and that guiding line to how we should live our future lives.

In this week’s Torah portion, Ve’etchanan, Moses continues his trip down memory lane as he gives his final instructions to the Israelites before they make their way into the Promised Land. He touches on a number of situations where the Israelites did not trust in Moses or God, and the problems that ensued. He reminds them of the times when they did succeed, and that the source of their success will continue to be God and the Torah. God will never forsake the Israelites, even when they make bad decisions. Moses has the tone of a father sending his child off to college, reminding the child to make good decisions. ...

Stronger Together

Taste of Torah by Rafi Glazer, Director of Programs

The myth of Sisyphus has always been an intriguing one. In our lives, we often approach moments with an idea that our strength alone can accomplish the task. But as we continue, we realize that we, like Sisyphus are alone unable to accomplish the goal. This is one of the primary reasons that so many lessons as children teach the value of working together and teamwork. Because, as we always learned, “with our powers combined, we are….” Stronger together than we are by ourselves.

In this week’s portion, Devarim, we take a bit of a trip down memory lane. Devarim is primarily a speech by Moses recapping what has happened the last 40 years as the Israelites wandered through the desert. Rather than the previous “recap” from a few weeks ago where the text reiterates to where the Israelites traveled and how long they stayed, this conversation is focused on some of the struggles the community endured. Battles, disagreements, the issue of the Israelite scouts not believing that they could accomplish what they set out to do, all comes back in this portion. ...