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News Highlights What Torah can I teach right now?

By Rabbi Avi Strausberg `15
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On the Monday after the news broke of the horrible attacks in Israel, I was scheduled to teach a monthly Torah learning session that meets in a community member’s home. When I emailed the organizers to check whether the group still wanted to meet, they responded with an unequivocal yes and asked me to switch my previously planned topic to “Torah that can help us with a crisis like this.”

This is the challenge that so many Jewish educators and professionals face right now. Our jobs and responsibilities haven’t been paused. Instead, our students and community members rely on us even more than in normal circumstances. We have to continue to teach, facilitate and inspire — but what Torah can we bring to speak to the unspeakable horrors and the continuing unfolding devastation happening in Israel? How can we sit in a comfortable living room in Maryland and talk about meaningful Torah while Israelis are shell-shocked on the other side of the ocean?

I opened the learning session by allowing people to share what they were feeling. They were sad and angry and devastated and bewildered.

Rabbi Avi Strausberg `15 was ordained by Hebrew College in 2014. He is the Hadar Institute’s director of national learning initiatives.

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