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Dear Sabbatical Diary: January 23, 2017

Mon, 01/23/2017 - 1:25pm -- Rabbi Ranon Teller

The Jewish Renewal conference in Boulder was fascinating and invigorating. It was fascinating to see a Jewish movement gather with such clarity and intensity. Regardless of personal politics, it was refreshing to see a group of like-minded, passionate seekers learn together and strategize. In the case of Jewish Renewal, the agenda is unabashedly progressive. There is broad community consensus on community goals and principles. This consensus and clarity fosters deep commitment and intense focus. There is a palpable sense of pride and purpose. 

Mishloach Manot - A Foundational Purim Mitzvah

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 1:40pm -- Rabbi Ranon Teller

The mitzvah of Mishloach Manot is fulfilled by sending gift baskets to friends. It is a mitzvah opportunity that is prescribed in the text of the Scroll of Esther. After Esther and Mordechai save the Jews from annihilation, the text commands the Jews to observe Purim as a day of “feasting and merrymaking, and as an occasion for sending gifts to one another [mishloach manot] and presents to the poor [matanot la’evyonim].” (Esther 9:22).

A Pursuit Toward World Peace

Mon, 08/17/2015 - 4:54pm -- Rabbi Ranon Teller
Yesterday, I was honored to participate in a panel discussion on World Peace at the Watbuddhavas Thai Buddhist Temple. They gathered an interfaith panel in honor of Queen Sirikit of Thailand’s 84th birthday. As the panelists were invited to the pulpit to speak, they bowed, full prostration Buddhist monk-style, to the head Buddhist monk who was seated in the front of the room. One by one, they bowed before the head monk. Suddenly, I felt like Mordechai in King Acheshverosh’s court, refusing to bow down to the King. When my turn to speak came, I went to the front of the room, put my hands together in a gesture of gratitude, nodded my head and closed my eyes. He nodded back. It was somewhat anti-climactic, but it was a good reminder of my belief in one God who is distinct from human beings.

Teller Family Israel Pilgrimage Post #3

Mon, 08/03/2015 - 3:11pm -- Rabbi Ranon Teller
Shalom all, Yesterday, we ascended to Tzfat. We ascended to the Northern region of Israel. We ascended to 3000 feet above sea level. We ascended in spirit to my favorite city in the world. The four holy cities of Israel are connected to the four elements. Jerusalem is fire: the energy is passionate and kinetic. Hebron is earth: the energy is constant and heavy. Tiberias is water: the energy is calm and refreshing. Tzfat is air: the energy is fresh, pure and open.
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