Seeking Gold

 This week’s confluence of the Olympic Games and Valentine’s Day means many more people than usual will probably have gold on their minds. While gold is not the most expensive…

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Paying For Gold

The most infamous sin of the Jewish people was the sin of the Golden Calf: When God presented the People of Israel with the Ten Commandments, the people were overwhelmed at hearing the…

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Jews Down Under

Jewish Treats pop quiz: Name the country whose first Jews arrived as convicts. The history of the Jews of Australia is one of the most peaceful narratives in the annals of the Jewish…

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Terumah 5771-2011

“The Message of the Holy Ark” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Terumah, we learn, in great detail, of the building of the Tabernacle. G-d tells Moses to…

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Terumah 5763-2003

"The Mishkan and the Sanctity of the Jewish Home" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald With this week's parasha, we begin a series of five weekly Torah portions that deal with the building of the…

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Terumah 5781-2021

“The Mishkan and the Sanctity of the Jewish Home” (updated and revised from Terumah 5763-2003) by, Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald With this week’s parasha, we begin a series of five weekly…

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Kee Tavo 5773-2013

"Not Rushing to Judgment" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Kee Tavo, we learn of the Jewish farmer’s obligation to bring Bikurim from the first produce of the…

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Musical Politicians in Victoria, B.C.

Lumley and Selim Franklin moved to Victoria, British Columbia, in 1858, during the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush. The Jewish community was just starting to grow, and the first…

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Bo 5768-2008

"Is This What You Call Borrowing?" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In parashat Bo we learn that after the ninth plague, the plague of darkness, Pharaoh has reached his wit's end, and agrees…

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Terumah 5770-2010

"Earning a Meaningful Living" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald Parashat Terumah is the first of the five concluding parashiot of the book of Exodus that describe the building of the…

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Terumah 5778-2018

“The Cherubs” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Terumah, we read of the many and varied materials that were donated by the people to build the Mishkan, the…

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The Rise of Phoenix

The settlement of the Arizona territory, followed the California Gold Rush of 1848-1850. When gold was found in Arizona, many people moved there from 1862 to 1864, including many Jewish…

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Vayakhel 5774-2014

“Lip Service is Hardly Enough” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Vayakhel, the people of Israel deliver their abundant contributions to be used in constructing…

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Coming to California

When we think of California today, we think of perfect weather, beautiful beaches and Hollywood stars. Before these modern dreams, however, California was a land of wild settlers who had…

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Tetzaveh 5760-2000

"Clothes: A Reflection of the Divine Image" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this coming week's parasha, Parashat Tetzaveh, we read of the big'dei k'huna, the priestly garments, with very…

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Tetzaveh 5779-2019

“Clothes: A Reflection of the Divine Image” (Revised and updated from Tetzaveh 5760-2000) by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this coming week’s parasha, Parashat Tetzaveh, we read of the…

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Shelach 5779-2019

"Finding Meaning in the Rituals" (Revised and updated from Shelach 5760-2000) by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald   This week’s parasha, parashat Shelach, concludes with the well-known…

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Speedy

Buckle up, look both ways...follow basic safety procedures.The speed skating competition at the 1928 Olympics, held in St. Moritz, Switzerland, ended in a literal “melt down.” During the…

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Shelach 5760-2000

"Finding Meaning in the Rituals" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This coming week's parasha, Parashat Sh'lach, concludes with the well-known third paragraph of the Shema prayer concerning…

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Pekudei 5771-2011

"The Meaning of the Priestly Vestments" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week’s parasha, parashat Pekudei, opens with a full accounting of the precious metals-–gold, silver and…

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Two Jews and the 501 Blues

Most people own at least one pair of jeans, if not several. The original, and most widely known, brand of jeans are the Levi 501 Blues, named after the company founded by Levi Strauss.…

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Bo 5764-2004

"The More Things Change..." by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this coming week's parasha, parashat Bo, the enslavement of the Jewish people comes to a dramatic conclusion with the tenth…

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Kee Tisah 5766-2006

"The Role of Aaron and the Golden Calf" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald The central focus of this week's parasha, parashat Kee Tisah, is the episode of the Golden Calf. Moses had ascended…

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Vayakhel 5763-2003

"Defining True Generosity" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this coming week's parasha, parashat Va'yakhel, we learn of the erecting of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle, the temporary sanctuary…

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Bo 5771-2011

"‘Is This What You Call Borrowing?’--Revisited" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In a previous analysis of parashat Bo (5768-2008), we presented a number of responses to the question of how…

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Behar 5776-2016

“Bernie Sanders Meets Parashat Behar" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week’s parasha, parashat Behar, introduces many of the Torah’s revolutionary economic ideas (see Behar 5765-2005).…

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Jewish Jeaneology

February 26, celebrated as “Levi Strauss Day,” is the day, in 1829, that marked the birth of the blue-jeans icon. Born in Bavaria, Levi Strauss immigrated, along with his mother and two…

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No Refuge in Alaska

Purchased from the Russian Empire in 1867, the territory of Alaska was the United States’ “Last Frontier.” Following its 1899 gold rush, which helped lay the foundation of Alaskan…

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Traveling Man

When Rabbi Jacob Levi Saphir (1822-1886) was 10, his family moved from Oshmiani, a town in the greater municipality of Vilna, to the city of Safed, Palestine (Israel). By the time he was…

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Montana’s Jewish History

Montana is not a state known for its large Jewish community, and yet the early Jewish settlers made a distinct mark on the cities in which they lived. The first Jewish community developed…

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