Wendi Geffen

Rabbi Wendi Geffen

Wendi Geffen is the senior rabbi at North Shore Congregation Israel in suburban Chicago. Dedicated to social justice and its Jewish textual roots, she regularly works to empower the synagogue and her larger community to act on the Jewish imperative to pursue tzedek. Wendi can be reached at rabbigeffen@nsci.org.

Behar-Bechukotai

This Land is Your Land Woodie Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” is perhaps the most celebrated love song for the varied wonders of American terrain. Although its verses reveal Guthrie’s love for the land, the song’s title and catchy refrain, “this land was made for you and me,” express how many of us relate …Read More

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Behar-Bechukotai

This Land is Your Land Woodie Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” is perhaps the most celebrated love song for the varied wonders of American terrain. Although its verses reveal Guthrie’s love for the land, the song’s title and catchy refrain, “this land was made for you and me,” express how many of us relate …Read More

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Tetzaveh

In third grade, my Hebrew School teacher took our class into the sanctuary to point out its most important fixtures. After the Ark and the Torah scroll, he directed our eyes up to the very top of the ceiling, from which hung a sphere-shaped lamp. With our necks craned to gaze up at the orb’s …Read More

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Bo

Passover doesn’t arrive until April, but Parshat Bo already has us thinking about it. In detailing the first Chag haMatzot,[1] the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the parshah establishes perhaps the most fundamental dichotomy of Passover: chametz vs. matzah. We generally assume chametz and matzah to be opposites, given their oppositional treatment in the text.[2] After …Read More

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Vayeshev

Rectifying pervasive social injustice around our
world proves an incredibly daunting and complicated challenge. Each
case of injustice is caused by not just the obvious perpetrators, but
often myriad unintentional secondary offenders and a seemingly
intractable web of social, economic and political systems and power
brokers. Given these tangled causes, the average person may feel
completely powerless to overcome injustice.

Take, for example, the current global food crisis. The causes of food
injustice—and ultimately hunger—are not just obvious offenders…

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Chayei Sarah

Following on the heels of the Akeidah,[1] the near-sacrifice of Isaac, Parshat Chayei Sarah (“Sarah’s Life”), opens by immediately announcing her death. Although a connection to the previous narrative is not explicit, many commentators link Sarah’s sudden passing to the Akeidah, imagining that the emotional shock of hearing the news literally kills her.[2] Rashi expands …Read More

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