Thursday, November 17, 2011

Computer issues again!!!!!

All ready to upload and the file got corrupted...seems to be the story of my life this week.  Trying to fix.  Will post tonight!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Vayera 5772: The Good, The Bad and the Very Ugly

Please know that if I miss a week here and there, there are always last year's podcasts to go back to.  They are not the same sound quality and perhaps even the content might not be as good...but I hope they might serve as guides when life gets in the way and I cannot podcast.

The story of Sodom and Gommorah which we read in this week's parasha is full of very ugly and disturbing images.  I did highlight a few of them but as this is a public podcast, I was very "delicate" in describing the images so that innocent ears who hear the podcast won't hear anything too shocking.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

My computer podcast this week! Sorry!

So sorry...I had to replace my computer and I don't have the new one optimized for podcasts I will be back with Bereshit on October 17.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ki Tavo 5771: Blessings, Thanksgiving and New Beginnings

Please see the photos at for the devastation suffered by thousands of residents of the Binghtamton Southern Tier area.  Fortunately our farm was well outside of the flooded area.  However, many of our neighbors suffered lots of damage to their farms from the waters as well as from oil tanks that leaked etc.  There are many relief projects going on in the area.  Please consider giving to: Hay for Holly (see the facebook page).  It is a group of people helping raise money to feed the alpaca and sheep this winter for our neighbors Holly and Todd whose farm was flooded and then contaminated by leaky oil tanks and other debris that fell into their land during the flood.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ki Tetzei 5771: The Little Things Matter

For a definition and description of Talmud please click on this link:  Talmud..  Information on the Levirate Marriage laws can be found here. Levirate Marriage.  Definition and further explanation of Mamzer, the "unsuitable" can be found here:  Mamzer.

From these few verses in this weeks parasha, hundreds upon hundreds of pages of rules and regulations have evolved.

Sending out blessings and prayers to those commemorating the loss of loved ones on 9/11/2011 as we all mourn those who have died since then as a result of the terror unleashed on that day.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Shoftim 5771: Pursuing Justice Justly

Fabulous article on translating texts by Dr. Joel Hoffman.  It includes references to the cities of refuge which are mentioned yet again in this week's parasha.

Sorry for the barking in the background..but Moonshine and Magnolia were determined to be part of this week's podcast.

Don't forget to go the Torah Threads Ravelry group to join in on the study group forming there.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Reeh 5771: Blessings, Curses, Blessings

Thanks to The Clothed in the Lamb podcast for mentioning me and for sending listeners my way.  Please do visit Itunes and put in a review (a good one I hope) to help others find Torah Threads.  

The image below is based on this week's parasha.  Please read the artist's statement as it beautifully conveys a special part of the Torah portion.  

Andi Arnovitz, USA/Israel

Parshat Re'eh

Parshat Re'eh

Artist Statement

I have always loved this parsha because the fundamentals of the Jewish concept of tzedakah are carefully explained here. Although there are many blessings and curses given, as an artist searching for the most graphic statement in the parsha, I found the "If there shall be a destitute person among you, any of your brethren in any of your cities, in the land that Hashem your G-d gives you, you shall not harden your heart or close your hand against your destitute brother. Rather, you shall open your hand to him; you shall lend him his requirement, whatever is lacking to him."
In this piece I worked in layers, symbolizing the many layers of understanding and interpretation that exist in the Torah. I have used the image of the hamsa, so prevalent here in Jerusalem, to represent the hand open in giving. I have sewn them, but left the tops open so they could actually hold money. Hanging from these hands are all the categories of obligation to which an individual is required to give charity. (From the Kitzer Shuchan Aruch. These include the orphan and widow, the poor of Jerusalem, the captive and the schools. All require our attention.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ekev 5771: Fertility and Fidelity

This is the Parsha Cake Blogs' Ekev cake showing the all the good things with which the Israelites will be blessed when they enter the promised land.  2 questions:  Which verse does this refer to?  What are the species depicted?

We send our condolence to the families of those killed at the Indiana State Fair and prayers of healing to those who were injured.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Vaetchanan 5771: Loving God and Being Holy

For Information on the laws and customs of the Mezuzah see:  You can also see an interesting Cartoon Video explaining how to hang a Mezuzah.
For a story on a legal case about a Mezuzah see:

Notice the large "ayin" letter at the tip of the "yad" the pointer, and the large "dalet" at the end of the same line.  These to letters make the Hebrew word "AYD" or witness.  Which reminds us to use this phrase to bear witness to The Eternal God.

Please write me if you are interested in getting together at the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck NY for Shabbat Dinner.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Devarim 5771: Moses' First Speech--Historical Review and Revisionism

Wikipedia gives a general introduction to the background and the structure of the Book of Deuteronomy.  It is well worth reading it or the introduction to the book from any of the major Jewish commentaries such as the Plaut, Eitz Hayyim, the JPS or the Hertz Pentateuch to keep track of the themes and content as this sometimes gets lost in some of the details given. 

You will also notice a different tone in the language.  We will talk about that more when we get to the poetic sections.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Massei 5771: Settlements, Cities of Refuge & Zelophehad Redux

The details of the wanderings of the Jews may be seen in this map.

This map lists the allotments given to the 11 tribes.  The tribe of Levi was given a holding in a portion of each of the other tribes' land.  6 cities were also created to be cities of refuge.

These details were recorded to make certain that there would not be disputes between the tribes over the borders of their holdings.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mattot 5771: Vows, Vengeance and Valor

On the subject of vows I should mention:

People were so concerned about the possibility that they might not be able to completely fulfill vows they made tt that in later years the Kol Nidrei prayer was created to annul vows. This was highly controversial among the Jewish people.  The rabbis were concerned that people might be more inclined to make vows that they had no intention of keeping.  Others feared that people wouldn't trust the word of Jews if they thought that they could nullify a vow on Yom Kippur through the Kol Nidrei.  For more information on Kol Nidrei and vows see:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pinchas 5771: Zealots, Women's Rights and Passing the Torch

Pinchas 5771: Zealots, Women's Rights and Passing the Torch

This link will take you to a wonderful page explaining the special writing that is characteristic of this parasha in the Torah Scroll. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

SORRY TO HAVE DISAPPEARED...but coming back this week

Dear Everyone:

I have had to take a bit of a break to attend to some family and personal health issues...but all is well and Torah Threads will have a new episode on Sunday, July 10.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

Emor 5771: Priestly Responsibilities, Holidays and Blasphemy

This week I put a challenge before everyone to read the sections about the holidays and to write me with the things you notice are different about holidays and how they celebrated today versus the way they are described in these sections of the bible.

You can email your answers to me at:

If you are going to be at the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival please email me as we can meet up there.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kedoshim 5771: The Holiness Code and Holy Threads

Some interesting articles about Shatnez can be found here:

I especially like the second article which gives the reason that wool and linen should not be mixed is because wool shrinks and linen does not shrink, makes one wonder if all of the biblical authors were actually hand spinners?  As I mention in the podcast, I think there are other reasons as well that we are supposed to refrain from mixing wool and linen.

I have also included some fun images from the world of Shatnez.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Happy Pesach!

Dear all:

There is no regular Torah portion for this week only the special readings for the holiday, most of which, since they come from the book of Exodus, I have already recorded.  You might enjoy going back and listening to those sections to review.   This also gives me another week to try to repair my broken microphone!

The Torah Portion for this shabbat is: Exodus 33:12 - 34:26 & Numbers 28:19 - 28:25.

Hag Kasher V'Sameach.  A happy holiday to all.

Monday, April 11, 2011

no show notes--Tazria or Aharei mot

Sorry...I have been a little caught up with other no show notes for Tazria or Aharei Mot.   Also, no recording for Metzora....will get back on track in the coming weeks.  In the meantime..enjoy listening!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tazria 5771: I'm in a pure state of mind

A fun interpretation of the Torah, The Torah in Haiku.  There is also a book called the Haggadah in Haiku.  I would have quoted the author on this week's episode, except that I have not yet received his permission, so I am linking to his materials for you to look on your own!  

An article giving more "medical" information on what the diseases were that are mentioned in the parasha.

I seem to have messed up my facebook page!  Sorry.  I will try to fix it!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

TZAV 5771: Offerings, Ordination and Afterlife

Offerings, Ordination and Afterlife.

Congratulations to Heather Ordover of for reaching her 200th episode.  Heather inspired me to start Torah Threads and is a wonderful literature teacher.  I have truly grown in my understanding of literature through her podcasts. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Vayikra 5771: Of offerings, sacrifices and community building

Vayikra 5771:  Of offerings, sacrifices and community building

For more background on the book of Leviticus you can read:

I also strongly suggest getting The Torah:  A Modern Commentary by Rabbi Gunther Plaut.  These sections of Leviticus are really well explained by Rabbi Plaut.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pekudei 5771: God is present and accounted for

For more information about the nature of the Hebrew calendar check here:
or go to where you can find out the exact dates of Jewish holidays,Torah portions and a converter to check Hebrew dates against the Gregorian calendar.

I adapted my roasted vegetable soup from numerous sources. The most important thing to do is to spice the vegetables to your taste.  I used cumin, tumeric, cayenne pepper, sea salt, pepper a little vinegar, garlic, onion, cilantro and splenda to give the vegetables full deep flavor.  I added quinoa and red lentils to make a full body broth.  I use acorn squash, red peppers, yellow peppers, carrots and kale.  I added pressed baked tofu too.  This is a really healthy low-fat, low carb soup.  Enjoy

Monday, February 21, 2011

VaYakhel 5771: The Spinsters Arrive

Show Notes Vayakhel 5771:  The Spinsters appear!

You can read Rabbi Lawrence Kushner’s The Tent Peg Business here:

Definition of SPINSTER a woman whose occupation is to spin

Super Scarves Project Information

I’ll post photos of my super scarf in process and my one row lace scarf soon.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ki Tissa 5771: Of Golden Calves and Glowing Presences

Sorry I am so late this week!

For more on Michaelangelo's depiction of horns based on the mis-translation of the Hebrew word referring to "rays" of light rather than "horns of light" see:
For more detailed discussion on the origins of the golden calf see:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tetzaveh 5771: Priestly Fibers

For More information about Priestly Garb look at: 
The Temple Institute detailed drawings and descriptions

For more information on the Urim & Thummim  look at the Jewish Encyclopedia

For more information on why the words Urim and Thummim appear in Hebrew on the Seal of Yale University look at: 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Terumah 5771: Taking God on the Road

This  fabulous book by Author Moses Levine is a "must see". 
It is a great way to see what the Tabernacle discussed in this week's parasha might have looked liked.
You might enjoy seeing this commentary on the Parasha as well.

Please pass on the word about Torah Threads and leave your comments here.  It makes it much more fun for me when I hear what you are all thinking

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mishpatim 5771: Laws, Moral and Community Building

For more information about the Code of Hammurabi created approximately in 1700 BCE please see the following article.

A brief explanation of Jewish law as it is practiced today and its development into “Halacha” can be found here.

SULAM-LI:  The Religious School for Jewish Children with Special Needs Klezmer Concert and Dance party featuring Alicia Svigals’ Klezmer Fiddle Express and Dance Master Steven Weintraub will be on Sunday, February 6, 2011, at 1:00 PM.  Details can be found at

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Yitro 5771: Conversion, Courts and Commandments

Please see the "extras" for the PDF of the 10 commandments in Hebrew and English as they appear in this week's parasha.

"Nedarim" is the Hebrew word for vows and is a tractate of the Talmud.  For more information on the importance of vows see:
For more information about seeing the text through a feminist lens consider these books:
Edited by Rabbi Elyse Goldstein
Foreword by Anita Diamant, author of The Red Tent
Rabbi Elyse Goldstein

Edited by Rabbi Elyse Goldstein
Edited by Rabbi Elyse Goldstein

Standing Again at Sinai:  Judaism from a Feminist Perspective

Monday, January 10, 2011

Beshallach 5771: Gastronomic Judaism, Freedom and The Song of the Sea

This week we remember the amazing Debbie Friedman who died on Sunday, January 9, 2011.  Her music inspired me from the time I was in high school.  To learn more about Debbie please read and watch the videos and mp3s listed below.  Her memory and her music will continue to bless us all for generations to come.

Debbie wrote this song in honor of this week’s parasha and the song of the sea.  You can listen to Miriam's Song, click here.
Miriam's Song

Music and Lyrics by Deborah Lynn Friedman

And the women dancing with their timbrels
Followed Miriam as she sang her song
Sing a song to the One whom we've exalted.
Miriam and the women danced and danced
the whole night long.

And Miriam was a weaver of unique variety.
The tapestry she wove was one which sang our history.
With every thread and every strand
she crafted her delight.
A woman touched with spirit, she dances
toward the light.

And the women dancing with their timbrels
Followed Miriam as she sang her song
Sing a song to the One whom we've exalted.
Miriam and the women danced and danced
the whole night long.

As Miriam stood upon the shores and gazed across the sea,
The wonder of this miracle she soon came to believe.
Whoever thought the sea would part with an outstretched hand,
And we would pass to freedom, and march to the promised land.

And the women dancing with their timbrels
Followed Miriam as she sang her song
Sing a song to the One whom we've exalted.
Miriam and the women danced and danced
the whole night long.

And Miriam the Prophet took her timbrel in her hand,
And all the women followed her just as she had planned.
And Miriam raised her voice with song.
She sang with praise and might,
We've just lived through a miracle, we're going to dance tonight.

And the women dancing with their timbrels
Followed Miriam as she sang her song
Sing a song to the One whom we've exalted.
Miriam and the women danced and danced
the whole night long.

Please consider using whenever you want to find interesting and inspirational additions to any holiday observance.
The Torah text of the song of the Sea:   
Notice that it looks like bricks stacked on top of each other.

For information about Manna and its origin and place in Jewish texts please go to Gil Marks’ website where you will find amazing material.  The links to his commentary on this parasha can be found here:

More general information about Manna can be found here   Some say that Manna may be related to Carob.  Look here for more info on the Carob Tree.
The manuscript photos connected with this week’s portion are from the Vatican collection. Monastery Pantokrator  9th century Psalterion, (Codex 61, 206r)

Information on Rabbi Joe Black and his music can be found here.  Look for Nachson ben Aminadav and Pharaoh, Pharaoh.

Tu B’shvat seder information can be found here at Hazon’s website.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bo 5771: Pesach, Matzah, Maror

Links to stories about the Samaritan Passover sacrifice which retains the traditions established in this week’s parasha for the Passover offering. 

In the Passover Haggadah we are told in addition to mentioning the objects on the Seder plate, we have to make certain to mention, Matzah, Maror and Pesach (the Passover offering).  This is derived from this week’s parasha.

Trivia Question:  What do we put on the doorposts of our houses today that also commemorates an act that takes place in this week’s parasha?

Are you a bread maven?  Do you know anything about grains and their chemical reaction to rising agents?  If so please be in touch, I have a question for you!

New parasha delayed

Sorry computer has been buried under drop cloths etc...will get new podcast up in a little while!