A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

Dvar Torah

Rabbi James Stone Goodman

Shabbat Naso on heroin

By Rabbi James Stone GoodmanPublished June 13, 2024

It was Shabbat Naso, the longest parashah in the Torah, read in proximity to Shavuot, the great wedding celebrating the enduring wisdom given to us on a mountain top. We had prepared. Was it a complete gift, this wisdom, or did we turn ourselves...

Betrayal by a college fraternity reveals Torahs wisdom on true service

Betrayal by a college fraternity reveals Torah’s wisdom on true service

By Rabbi Josef DavidsonPublished May 16, 2024

Though it has been many decades since I was an incoming freshman in college, I remember well many of the experiences of that year as well as the three others that followed. One was the experience of rushing a fraternity and then participating on the...

Understanding the ‘goat demon’ verse in the Torah

By Rabbi Mark L. Shook, Rabbi Emeritus, Congregation Temple IsraelPublished May 2, 2024

This week’s parasha is acharei mot, and is found in chapters 16-18 of Leviticus - Sefer Vayikra. Following upon the sudden death of Aaron’s two sons, a detailed account of the proper procedures for the purification of the Mishkan is given. The wilderness...

Detective’s Revelation: Words come alive and lead him on new case

By Rabbi James Stone Goodman, Central Reform CongregationPublished April 18, 2024

He was accustomed to the close reading of texts, but on that day he sat with eyes that had never seen before and watched words on the page before him grow legs and dance, legs became wings, and words flew off the page like pigeons off of cobblestones.  On...

This week’s Torah portion is infamous for being gross and unrelatable

This week’s Torah portion is infamous for being gross and unrelatable

Rabbi Amy FederPublished April 11, 2024

This week’s Torah portion is infamous for being perhaps the grossest and least relatable portion in the entire Torah. And it’s one of my very favorites. Tazria focuses on a skin disease known as tzara’at, which is commonly translated as leprosy...

Dietary laws are another way to bring holiness to everyday life

By Rabbi Josef DavidsonPublished April 3, 2024

For the last two years in which I was enrolled in rabbinical school, I served a small congregation every month located in the heart of Cajun Country: Lafayette, La.  Located as it was near the Gulf of Mexico, the residents of Lafayette ate a lot...

Rabbi Dale Schreiber

Modern sacrifices bring us closer to the Divine

By Rabbi Dale SchreiberPublished March 28, 2024

For an estimated 13 centuries, sacrificial offerings were the way of Jewish worship. The protocols for such practices are recorded in the third book of Torah, Leviticus, or Vayikra in Hebrew. The rabbis often referred to books of Torah with names reflecting...

Rabbi Noah Arnow

From Jordan vs. LeBron to ancient rabbis, the legacy debate never ends

Rabbi Noah ArnowPublished March 25, 2024

Basketball fans are still debating Jordan vs. Lebron—which was the GOAT (the Greatest of All Time).  New Yorkers of a certain age used to argue passionately about the relative merits of Mantle, Mays and Snider, who were contemporaneous and competing...

Embrace surprise events as opportunity on road to our Promised Land

By Cantor and Rabbi Ron Eichaker United hebrew CongreegationPublished March 21, 2024

At times, our purpose or direction in life may be less clear than others. There can be many influences that can cast a pall over our existence, taking us to murky places we may not choose to go.  When clouds of uncertainty cause us to remain stationary,...

Don’t let our reflection blind us to needs of others

By Rabbi James Bennett, Congreegation Shaare EmethPublished March 6, 2024

For most of my life I have inclined towards a philosophy of universalism. From my earliest years, I understood our Jewish tradition as teaching that each human being is created B’tselem Elohim, in the Divine image, and that all human beings are equally...

Each of us is an artist conjuring beauty, holiness

By Rabbi Elizabeth HershPublished February 29, 2024

Ki Tissa opens with God telling Moses to take a census of the Israelite people. Each shall contribute a half shekel. The wealthy should not pay more nor the less fortunate less. We read about details involving the priests as well as the commandment to...

The holiness in our DNA

Rabbi Josef DavidsonPublished February 21, 2024

Name tags: one either loves them or hates them; there is no in-between. Everyone, however, is in agreement that they serve a worthy purpose. Wearing a name tag alleviates the awkwardness that comes with recognizing the face but not the name. Name tags...

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