Author Archives: Torah Buzz

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 […]

Our Season of Generosity by Rabbi Jonathan Freirich

Dec 03

Normally during this time of year we turn to tidings of joy and celebration, ways of bringing light and warmth into the darkest and coldest time of year. How much more do we need to do that in this season of insecurity. Where can we turn for a message of hope amid news of violence […]

Doing What Needs to be Done by Rabbi Jonathan Freirich

Aug 27

“We are consistently finding things to do rather than doing things that need to be done.”     – Jeffrey Benoit, Community Activist (On the bus to begin walking for Journey for Justice, from Selma, Alabama, to Washington DC, Wednesday morning, August 26, 2015) There really is no “us and them”, there is only one human family. […]

Pride by Rabbi Jonathan Freirich

Jul 23

This year Temple Beth El’s Keshet Committee leads our celebration of Charlotte Pride with a number of events highlighting our communal commitment to equal rights and inclusion.  In this effort, Keshet and Temple Beth El adhere to central teachings of Judaism about compassion and righteousness. We can find such lessons in almost every Torah reading.  […]