David Shneyer Writings

Parsha Tzav and Building Spiritual & Social Harmony

Last week the Book of Numbers, VaYikra, opened with animal sacrifices and how animals and other kinds of offerings were intended to draw the people closer (korban) to God and to each other. This week’s Parsha, Tzav, continues the focus on offerings, as a means to building spiritual and social […]

Establishment of the Mishkan

This past Shabbat we concluded the Book of Exodus with establishment of the Mishkan, the sacred structure. So, what now? Can the Israelites now, continue on their journey to the Land of Promise? Our Torah authors and sages let us know that there is a profound need that must be […]

Shabbat Zachor and Purim

This Shabbat is known as the Shabbat Zachor, the Sabbath of Remembrance. Since it is the Sabbath preceding Purim, the special Haftarah, a reading from the Prophets, recalls how Samuel instructs Saul to “strike down Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, killing every man, women and child, ox […]

Parsha Mishpatim and Sefer HaBrit

In this Parsha, Mishpatim, we learn of the Sefer HaBrit, the Book of the Covenant, that describes with great vision and detail the civil, human rights, animal rights and judicial requirements of the new nation. Is it a coincidence that this Parsha coincides with the tens of thousands of Israelis […]

Parsha Yitro and Two States of the Union

There’s a lot of organizing to do. “Let’s get the job done” repeated Joe Biden numerous times to Congress and the country last night. In Parshat Yitro this week we hear, once again, another State of the Union address. Moses is rallying the nation behind God and the promise of […]

Makot in Our Current World

Locusts, Darkness and Death of the first born. The plagues, Makot, literally meaning “strikes” strike against Pharoah’s enslavement of the Hebrews having intensified from the waters to the land to the sky, the realm of Higher Being. The intensity of the liberation movement is reaching a climax. We experience the […]

Thoughts on My Recent Trip to Israel

It’s good to be back. It’s hard to say being in Israel was relaxing. I want to the thank Melissa, our administrative assistant, for watching over the business of Am Kolel while I was away. I also wish to thank Susan Zemsky, friend and recently retired executive director of Temple […]

Shabbat Hanukah and Miketz

It is awesome to be back in Jerusalem again. When we exited from the bus and train station onto Jaffa Street, we were greeted with amplified Hanukah music, a large Hanukah menorah and folks dancing. It was a sight. This coming Shabbat is Shabbat Hanukah. The parsha, Miketz, continues the […]

Sharing Concerns and Commitment for a Two-State Solution

This past weekend I attended the J Street Conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. I understand there were some 2000 attendees, 400 college students! While everyone was asked to show their vaccination cards and wear masks, the greater majority did not wear masks. The vast majority were also exuberant about […]

What Can We Do in Midst of the Barrage of Bad News

Ma Laasot? “So, what can you do?”, as the Hebrew translates. What can we do, in the midst of a barrage of bad news from Ukraine to Jewish settler violence to the shootings of members of the LGBTQ community, students and, now shoppers at a Walmart in Virginia? We, humans, […]