On Deception and Its Consequences: Parashat Toldot 5777

I wrote this drasha originally in 5777 (November 2016). When I read the story of Yaakov stealing Esau’s blessing from their father, Yitzchack in this week’s parsha, Parashat Toldot, I am filled with a wide array of often conflicting emotions. I feel a profound personal connection to Yitzchack, understand his pain and vulnerability on a gut level. At the same...[ read more ]

The Sfat Emet on Sukkot

This piece was originally written in 5777/2016. The Sfat Emet has many teachings about Sukkot which intersect well with his description of Yom Kippur as being like a mikvah. We are required to dwell in the Sukkah for the seven days of the holiday of Sukkot (as well as Shemini Atzeret, which many Hasidic masters liken to the very pinnacle...[ read more ]

Or HaMeir on Bereshit

This piece was written in 5777/2016. In his commentary on Bereshit, the Or HaMeir refers to two of the earliest Jewish mystical concepts—the notion that the Torah proceeded everything and the notion of a Ma’aseh Bereshit consciousness. When we think about the creation story, which has been interpreted and reinterpreted throughout the centuries, we tend to think of it as...[ read more ]

The Sfat Emet on Yom Kippur

This drasha was originally written in 5777. One of the most beautiful teachings I have encountered about Yom Kippur is from the Sfat Emet. The Sfat Emet uses the symbology and metaphor of a mikvah to talk about what Yom Kippur is and how it functions. Yom Kippur is this day of total immersion, total unity with God. On Yom...[ read more ]

ELI Talk: We All Were At Sinai: The Transformative Power of Inclusive Torah

Rabbi Tuchman delivered an ELI Talk We All Were At Sinai: The Transformative Power of Inclusive Torah in which she offers a new paradigm for understanding the religious import of including all within our sacred spaces. [embed][/embed]

Senior Sermon, the Jewish Theological Seminary

Watch Rabbi Tuchman's senior sermon, delivered on October 23, 2017 at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.

On Creating Holy Communities

Choosing to become a rabbi was a decision I made with an incredible amount of consideration and care. I wish to bring my particular passions, skillsets and knowledge to bear on some of the most important justice issues within the Jewish community and beyond it. Further, I believe strongly that the rabbinate and by extension cantorate must reflect the makeup...[ read more ]

Pokeakh Ivrim: Opening our Minds to New Forms of Inclusion

Typically when we think of access in general and in Jewish community specifically, we first default to thinking about physical access—is the bimah accessible? Do we have sign language interpretation provided for services and other events? Are Braille and large print siddurim available? It has often been my experience as someone who is blind and very Jewishly involved that, when...[ read more ]

Parashat Emor: On Reading Leviticus 21 and the Problematics of Embodied Leadership

This piece first appeared here. Parashat Emor (Leviticus 21-24), read this week in synagogues outside of Israel, opens with a passage describing limitations placed on individuals whom a Kohen (priest) may mourn or marry, as well as limiting sacrificial service in the Mishkan to those who are able-bodied. We learn in Leviticus 21:17 that any Kohen who has a mum—blemish...[ read more ]

Parashat Kedoshim and the Admonitions of Amos

Amos is widely and popularly considered to be the social justice prophet. He unequivocally rejects the sacrificial cult of his day, considering service of God to be about justice, rather than about fulfilling one’s obligations through offering sacrifices. Read more on State of Formation


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