Jason Gaines, the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Dept. of Jewish Studies at Tulane, shares his historical and literary interpretation of Exodus 19, the first time that the shofar is mentioned in the Torah.
The shofar calls us to begin the introspection our tradition asks of us during the Yamim Noraim — the Days of Awe. The cycle of different shofar blasts guides our journey, as we look at those parts of ourselves that may be broken. T’kiya G’dolah, the final, solid long blast, leads us back to wholeness.
Next to me here in Audubon Park is the Tree of Life.
Just imagine all of the moments this tree has witnessed throughout the years, the storms it has weathered, the weddings celebrated underneath its branches.
Next to this Tree of Life, the shofar calls us to celebrate life.
Today is the new moon — the first day of the month of Elul — which marks the beginning of the High Holiday season. Over the course of this month, the moon will wax until it’s full, and when it disappears in the sky again, we enter the new year with Rosh HaShanah.
Take a look at the sky each night — the moon is a reminder of the sacred time we are entering. Each day over the course of this month the shofar calls us, reminding us to prepare to make the most of the coming new year.
Poet Marcia Falk wrote this reflection:...
Building Our Eiruv by Cantor Kevin MargoliusShabbat Evening Service - Friday, August 14
The Third Conversation by Rabbi Katie BaumanShabbat Evening Service - Friday, August 7
“Black Lives Matter” is a Jewish value, and we are proud to have purchased these yard signs as part of a fundraiser benefiting the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition (BRYC), organized by Aaron Posner of our sister congregation Beth Shalom Synagogue in Baton Rouge. The Hebrew words in the background are Levitucus 19:16, “Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor.” I hope the presence of these signs reminds each of us of who and what we strive to be as Touro Synagogue, and that they provoke us toward increased commitment and action every time we see them.
We are in a new moment in New Orleans. We have begun to leave our homes more often, and many businesses have reopened. We have begun to share public space with greater frequency and for longer durations of time. We have begun to meet in doctors’ offices and in beauty salons. We are skirting by one another in restaurants and at gyms. Some have tried to worship together. Each one of us, whether director, owner, employee, patron or parishioner, is making calculations about our essential needs and what actions we must take to meet them. We are asking ourselves what ...