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Since its founding in 1956 as a rabbinical school, the Academy for Jewish Religion has been at the forefront of pluralistic rabbinic and cantorial training.

Latest Torah

by Rabbi Greg Schindler (’09)

[fusion_dropcap class="fusion-content-tb-dropcap"]T[/fusion_dropcap]his week’s Shabbat bears a special name, "Shabbat Nahamu” – the Shabbat of Comfort. Shabbat Nahamu comes on the heels of the saddest day on the Jewish calendar -- Tisha b’Av. This is the day on which both Temples were destroyed. Moreover, other catastrophes fell on this date – the day Bar Kokhba (the leader of the revolt against the Romans) was killed in 133 C.E., the day in 1290 when the Jews were expelled from England, the day in 1492 when the Jews were forced to convert or flee Spain. And, in 1914, the day on which World War I, and the horrors to follow, began. Tisha b’Av, the Rabbis say, is a day set aside for sorrows. And not only our national sorrows, but our personal ones Read More >

by Rabbi Ira J. Dounn (’17)

[fusion_dropcap class="fusion-content-tb-dropcap"]T[/fusion_dropcap]here’s a lot in our tradition that is difficult to accept. One of the concepts that seems especially not to square with our lived experience is the theology of Divine reward and punishment. It’s hard to reconcile for me, for many in the Jewish community, and for many of the students I work with. The haftarah that we’ll read on this Shabbat Hazon sums it up well: אִם־ תֹּאב֖וּ וּשְׁמַעְתֶּ֑ם ט֥וּב הָאָ֖רֶץ תֹּאכֵֽלוּ׃ וְאִם ־תְּמָאֲנ֖וּ וּמְרִיתֶ֑ם חֶ֣רֶב תְּאֻכְּל֔וּ כִּ֛י פִּ֥י יְ-הֹוָ֖ה דִּבֵּֽר If you are willing and obey, you will eat the best of the land. But if you refuse and disobey, you will be devoured by the sword, for the mouth of G-d spoke. (Isaiah 1:19-20) This is just not true. It’s hard to imagine, frankly, that it was Read More >

by Rabbi Mitchell Blank ('21)

[fusion_dropcap class="fusion-content-tb-dropcap"]I[/fusion_dropcap]n this week’s parashah, Moses recounts the starting points of each of the places visited by the Israelites during their 40 year trek on the way to the Promised Land. “Moses recorded the starting points as directed by the Lord (al pi Adonai )”. (Num. 33:2) For what purpose is God’s command for Moses to catalogue each station encountered as the journey nears completion and why davka by their starting points? Moses has been intimately involved in the entire journey, especially from the moment the Israelites broke camp on the 20th day of the 2nd year. (Num. 10:11) It’s not as if he needs to record the stations to remember the journey. All the treks from that point on were conducted in an intimate partnership between Moses and the Read More >

by Rabbi Steven Altarescu ('14)

[fusion_dropcap class="fusion-content-tb-dropcap"]T[/fusion_dropcap]he way we respond to very difficult stories in the Torah can teach us a lot about the complexities of being human. Two common reactions to the stories that shock us, maybe even disgust us, might be to reject the whole Torah and its jealous and angry God or to simply not pay attention to the parts of the Torah we don’t like and only learn from its ethical teachings and uplifting stories. I would like to suggest a third approach, one that begins with seeing the Torah as the beginning of a conversation and not as the end of one. This means not only acknowledging the compassionate and loving side of being human but our more shadowy characteristics as well, such as the desire to murder, rid ourselves of people who we see as harmful Read More >

This Week @ AJR

Monday, Jul 15
  • Gesher Students Meeting
    Monday, Jul 15 @ 12:10 pm EDT - 12:45 pm EDT
    Zoom 9

  • Minhah 3:30 – 3:50PM EST
    Monday, Jul 15 @ 3:30 pm EDT - 3:50 pm EDT
    Zoom 9

Tuesday, Jul 16
  • Diving into DTL, the Digital Theological Library
    Tuesday, Jul 16 @ 12:10 pm EDT - 12:45 pm EDT
    Zoom 9

  • Minhah 3:30 – 3:50
    Tuesday, Jul 16 @ 3:30 pm EDT - 3:50 pm EDT
    Zoom 9

Wednesday, Jul 17
  • Copyright for Cantors, Rabbis, and Educators with Rabbi Matthew Goldstone
    Wednesday, Jul 17 @ 12:10 pm EDT - 12:45 pm EDT
    Zoom 9

  • Minhah 3:30 – 3:50PM EST
    Wednesday, Jul 17 @ 3:30 pm EDT - 3:50 pm EDT
    Zoom 9

Thursday, Jul 18
  • Open Discussion Thursdays: An Opportunity to Talk about the Current Climate
    Thursday, Jul 18 @ 12:10 pm EDT - 12:45 pm EDT

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