Author Archives: Torah Buzz

Tikkun Olam: Youth Experiences at TBE by Sam Swire, Director of Youth Engagement

Aug 02

In this week’s Torah portion Va’etchanan, Moses tells the Israelites that he will not be joining them in crossing the Jordan River into the land of Canaan.  He summarizes the events that led up to this moment including the exodus from Egypt, the revelation of the Ten Commandments, and the B’rit or covenant between God […]

A Message from Israel by Sam Swire

Jun 15

Our TBE group of 50 is having an incredible time here in Israel. This opportunity to fully immerse ourselves in the land that is both so important to our people’s history and culture has been an incredible bonding experience. We are bonding with each other and to our past and present. Our first full day here, […]

URJ Camps are Home Away from Home by Lindsay Rosenzweig, Incoming LIBERTY Youth Group President

Jun 08

A sea of white. Lying on a tennis court with your friends, looking up at the stars. Singing and dancing during services. This is a typical Friday night in the mountainous area of Cleveland, Georgia, at the beautiful URJ Camp Coleman. In less than 4 days, children from all over the Southeast (and beyond) will […]

TBE Youth- Impressive! by Sam Swire, Director of Youth Engagement

Mar 29

When I would attend NFTY events as a high school student I had the feeling that when I was at a NFTY event I was able to be my best self. The weekend of 3/24 through 3/26 showed the same was true for the youth of TBE attending our youth programs. Here in Charlotte, 30 […]

First we mourn.. by Rabbi Jonathan Freirich

Jun 16

First we mourn, and then we make their memories a blessing On Tuesday evening, hundreds of Charlotteans gathered for an Interfaith Vigil to remember the murdered and injured from the horror of last Saturday night and Sunday morning in Orlando. Initially, I could come up with no words but these for that evening: The litany […]

Our Teacher, Our Mentor, Our Friend, Our Brother

Apr 26

by Ronald P. Townsend Rabbi Jonathan once said something profoundly insightful in Talmud study which characterizes his approach to engagement.  We were discussing intentionality in ritual, reviewing an ancient dialogue among the sages regarding how to respond to interruptions in prayer.  In typical Talmudic fashion, the sages debate what constitutes a “serious” intrusion (such as […]

Excitement and Sadness by Rabbi Jonathan Freirich

Apr 06

We Jews are people who wander – from the ancient wilderness of Sinai, to the Diaspora today, from seeking for answers that help us make progress on our intellectual questions, to searching the depths of our souls for spiritual connections. Five years ago, Ginny’s and my family were thrilled to roam our way to Charlotte […]

Comparative Religion Reflections by Rabbi Jonathan Freirich

Mar 03

Last night Tim Funk, Professor Bob Whalen, and I discussed the history and present of American Religion and politics as the concluding session of the 19th Annual Comparative Religion Series. Professor Whalen outlined a really interesting rubric that might help us assess how religion often impacts American politics using these three concepts: 1) Civil Religion […]

Jewish Inclusion Starts in Exodus by Rabbi Jonathan Freirich

Jan 14

  Moses was an egalitarian! Seems like an odd thing to say about our ancestor, with all of the apparent ancient sexism and xenophobia, and yet, here, in this week’s Torah reading, Pharaoh asks Moses: “Who is it, who is it that would go [with you to worship]?” Moses said: “We will go with our […]