Water From the Well column

Words of Torah by Rabba Kaya

winding road

Carrying the Name of God

Parashat Lekh L'kha
Written by Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman Posted on October 15, 2021

Who was Abraham and why was he chosen to be the founder of the Jewish people? We first learn of him, with his original name – Avram, at the very end of the story of Noah and the flood. He is a descendant of Shem, one of the three sons of Noah. At the beginning Continue Reading »

In the Beginning

Parashat Breishit
Written by Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman Posted on October 1, 2021

In The Beginning In the Beginning of the creating of all Creation, when the One that was ALL, drew into Oneself, Two realms emerged, and there was Heaven and there was Earth. And Earth was awash in unformed chaos, and darkness lay over the depths- then- Divine Spirit-Wind danced over the Waters and the One Continue Reading »

fingers make a heart

Instruments of Love

Shabbat Shuva
Written by Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman Posted on September 10, 2021

  This year we have a profound confluence of calendar events. This Shabbat, known as Shabbat Shuva, falls on September 11. Shabbat Shuva is the Sabbath dedicated to the theme of repentance, as it comes between the holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Shuva means “to return.” The period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Continue Reading »

clasped hands

From Grief to Joy

Tu b'Av: A Tikkun* for Tisha B'Av
Written by Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman Posted on July 26, 2021

This Shabbat is special for many reasons. It is Tu b’Av, a lesser-known Jewish holiday that celebrates love. Traditionally, it was a day for betrothals. In modern times, weddings are often performed on this day, the first full moon after the Tisha b’Av. It is also a special Shabbat in the calendar called Shabbat Nachamu, Continue Reading »

Water from the well

Tisha B’Av

Written by Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman Posted on July 14, 2021

In preparation for Tisha B’Av which begins this Saturday night, I would like to share a compelling reflection on this observance written by Rabbi Ellen Bernstein (author of The Promise of the Land haggadah). See below. Please join me on Saturday night in our Court Street parking lot for Havdalah at 9:00 pm followed by the chanting of Eicha/Lamentations Continue Reading »

Water from the well

“All that you touch changes”

Parashat Hukkat
Written by Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman Posted on June 18, 2021

This week’s portion, Hukkat, deals with the mystery of death, the notion of impermanence, and the endless cycle of transformation. Our Torah portion opens with Parah Adumah– the Red Heifer ritual to purify those who have had contact with the dead, to transform their state from impure to pure again. One of the more mysterious Continue Reading »

Water from the well

Wrapped in Peace

Parashat Sh'lach
Written by Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman Posted on June 4, 2021

Dedicated to my Dad, Larry Stern, on the approach of his first yahrzeit on June 15. My first experiences of a tallit and tzitzit was sitting next to my father in shul, in a very cold, overly air-conditioned sanctuary, with my father’s arm around my shoulders, his tallit draped over me. There, under his woolen Continue Reading »

hands made of writing clasped

Sacred Boundaries

Parashat Tazria/Metzora
Written by Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman Posted on April 19, 2021

On Shabbat we honor and celebrate the magnificence of all of Creation. In psalm 92, the psalm for Shabbat, we sing: Mah gadlu ma’asekha Yah– How awesome is Your handiwork God, how fathomless Your designs. In our Creation story at the beginning of Genesis, Torah teaches that God transforms the world from a state of Continue Reading »

wild garden

Come Into My Garden

Parashat Shabbat Pesach
Written by Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman Posted on April 5, 2021

In the burst of springtime, Shabbat Pesach arrives as an oasis of beauty and love. It is the one day in our year in which the Rabbis established the practice of publicly reading the book Shir Hashirim/The Song of Songs. As we look at the text, we will discover that ‘The Song,’ like Passover itself, is Continue Reading »

hands make a heart shape

A Community of Heart

Parashat Vayakhel
Written by Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman Posted on March 10, 2021

YouTube link to a musical piece – about art – from a consummate musician and artist, singer/songwriter Alicia Jo Rabins.  Last week we read the story of the Golden Calf, of the misguided attempt of the Israelites to find security in a god made of gold. Torah says that the people gathered together/vayikahel, single-mindedly, in Continue Reading »