Shira Fischer

Shira Fischer

Shira Fischer, MD, PhD, is an Associate Physician Researcher at the RAND Corporation. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Brookline, MA, where she is active in her egalitarian minyan and serves as a Brookline Town Meeting Member. Shira can be reached at ajws@shirafischer.com.

Yitro

One year ago last week, on January 12, 2010, the Caribbean country of Haiti, already the poorest country in the Americas,[1] experienced a devastating earthquake, the worst to hit the region in nearly two hundred years. The quake not only took hundreds of thousands of lives, but it also destroyed the country’s already limited infrastructure and fragile government, leaving millions leaderless as well as displaced or homeless.

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Ki Tetze

We often say that there are 613 commandments in the Torah. One can certainly list that many, but no one person can do them all: not for lack of will, but because many mitzvot only apply to certain people or in specific situations. For example, some mitzvot are only applicable in the Land of Israel; others are relevant just for the kohein gadol—the sole high priest; and others depend on specific situations, like that of a man whose married, childless brother has just died. Some mitzvot are only relevant at certain stages of life, like betrothal or the period just after marriage. Outside of those specific situations, these commandments cannot be fulfilled.

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Vayechi

At points of transition, particularly at the end of life, it is natural to look back at what we have accomplished and ahead to what we are giving the next generation. Some of us will bequeath money—directed towards a specific cause, through a foundation or in a building. Others will pass on our ideas through the institutions we found or the books we publish, or through the memories of our students and children. These are the ways that we hope our legacy—the things we lived for in life, our values and commitments—will live on.

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Ki Tetze

We often say that there are 613 commandments in the Torah. One can certainly list that many, but no one person can do them all: not for lack of will, but because many mitzvot only apply to certain people or in specific situations. For example, some mitzvot are only applicable in the Land of Israel; …Read More

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Dvarim

Parshat D’varim is always read on the Shabbat immediately preceding Tish’a B’av, the ninth of the Hebrew month of Av—the day commemorating the destruction of both Temples. On this Shabbat, we read the first prophecy of Isaiah as our haftarah. It describes the destruction of Jerusalem, “The faithful city that was filled with justice, where …Read More

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Pinchas

In many biblical stories, women are not named. While we know her salty fate, we never learn the name of Lot’s wife; and despite her central role in the Joseph story, Potiphar’s wife remains nameless. However, five women—Machla, Noa, Chogla, Milka and Tirtza—are named in Parshat Pinchas and again and again in the Bible. These …Read More

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Shlach

For many of us, the situation in Sudan feels hopeless. In Sudan’s western region of Darfur, a genocide has continued for eight years, claiming the lives of more than 450,000 people and displacing millions of others. Meanwhile, decades of civil war between the North and South had finally ended in 2005, only to suffer repeated …Read More

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Vayikra

One of the most amazing messages of Judaism is the potential for change. Throughout the Jewish year, we communicate the belief that as individuals we can transform ourselves into better people and that the world as a whole can become a better place. On the individual level, on Yom Kippur we pray with intensity, deny …Read More

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Yitro

One year ago last week, on January 12, 2010, the Caribbean country of Haiti, already the poorest country in the Americas,[1] experienced a devastating earthquake, the worst to hit the region in nearly two hundred years. The quake not only took hundreds of thousands of lives, but it also destroyed the country’s already limited infrastructure …Read More

Read More

Vayechi

At points of transition, particularly at the end of life, it is natural to look back at what we have accomplished and ahead to what we are giving the next generation. Some of us will bequeath money—directed towards a specific cause, through a foundation or in a building. Others will pass on our ideas through …Read More

Read More