Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg Profile picture
Rabbi & author. Newest📚ON REPENTANCE & REPAIR. Scholar in Residence @NCJW. Abortion justice forever. 🔥 Bible/justice newsletter👇Opinions mine. she/her
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Oct 7, 2018 11 tweets 3 min read
Ok, here’s a short thread on this.

1/x Do some reading and learning to learn more about the structure. Eg this is a good overview: jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-daily-serv…, @heyBimBam has some great explainers, bimbam.com/judaism-101/pr…, lots up at @jewlearn, etc. Prayers only said with a minyan: Kaddish (all of them), Barechu, Torah reading stuff, and reader’s repetition of the Amidah (incl notably Kedusha). Everything else pretty much you say at home even wo minyan.
Oct 5, 2018 13 tweets 3 min read
Three self-care tips to make it through today.


1) embrace holy anger.

Ibn Gabirol says that “anger is a reprehensible quality, but when employed to correct or to reprove, or because of indignation at the performance of transgressions, it becomes laudable.” Or Audre Lorde: “Every woman has a well-stocked arsenal of anger potentially useful against those oppressions, personal and institutional, which brought that anger into being. Focused with precision it can become a powerful source of energy serving progress and change.”
Oct 5, 2018 6 tweets 1 min read
Alas! Lonely sits the city Once great with people! She that was great among nations Is become like a widow...

Bitterly she weeps in the night, Her cheek wet with tears. There is none to comfort her Of all her friends. All her allies have betrayed her; They have become her foes. All the precious things she had In the days of old Jerusalem recalled In her days of woe and sorrow, When her people fell by enemy hands With none to help her; When enemies looked on and gloated Over her downfall.
Sep 30, 2018 23 tweets 5 min read
Ok. But I’m gonna have to talk about Esther too.

Another Biblical #metoo

THREAD We’re in the Book of Esther. Ahasverus is the Persian king of “127 provinces from India to Ethiopia.” The book opens with a massive party, and a party-within-a-party to boot.
Sep 30, 2018 11 tweets 3 min read
Sure. Genesis 39 is what we’re talking about.


This is a story about a person with power abusing that power to exploit someone with less power sexually, and retaliating when refused. So Joseph has been sold into slavery by his brothers (v loving move there, guys) and works for Potiphar. Potiphar was a rich Egyptian, Joseph was a foreigner who was literally his property. Yes Joseph wound up with a lot of responsibility, but in context as an enslaved foreigner.
Sep 27, 2018 8 tweets 2 min read
The commandment to rejoice isn't about having a feeling.
It'a about doing an action.
Towards justice.

THREAD. And you shall rejoice in your festival, you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are inside your gates. -- Deuteronomy 16
Sep 26, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
Words from Rabbi @rtimoner on FB (thread, link below):I’m thinking about the Take Back the Night marches we organized at Yale, when we’d walk by DKE fraternity chanting “shame!” and how we at the Women’s Center ran the annual Speak Out against Sexual Assault on Cross Campus Lawn. I’m thinking about when I ran to be the first woman president of the Yale Political Union and had to endure a late night grilling with a spotlight in my face by Kavanaugh’s buddies in the Party of the Right.
Sep 26, 2018 9 tweets 3 min read
A thread of groovy sukkot situations, as discussed in the Mishnah.

Sukkah on a camel: kosher (depending on when you get on the camel). Sukkah on a camel Sukkah on a boat: permitted/ kosher/ valid/. Sukkah on a boat.
Sep 20, 2018 20 tweets 7 min read
I promised y'all a thread on female teachers of Torah throughout history. Here it is, neither comprehensive nor complete. So not really teachers of Torah, but in my tradition, there are 7 women prophets in the Hebrew Bible: Sarah, Miriam, Deborah. Hannah, Abigail, Huldah, and Esther. Obviously there were many strong, kickass women in the Bible (shoutout to Judith, Yael, Tamar, many others).
Sep 18, 2018 15 tweets 3 min read
#MeToo. Yom Kippur. By me and others. Thread.

For the sin we committed through inappropriate use of power.
For the sin we committed by inappropriate sexual advances.
For the sin we committed by putting people in power without oversight.
forward.com/life/faith/409… For the sin we committed by not taking a colleague's complaints seriously.
For the sin we committed by not believing victims.
For the sin we committed by ignoring our own power or privilege when making an advance.
For the sin we committed by pushing when we should have waited.
Sep 17, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
An old friend of my parents' generation just wrote me re: my recent WaPo piece to say, "good work, but you know, the rabbis of history were all sexists so they're not a good source for forgiveness re: mistreating women."

Here's what I said. Thread: 1/x

washingtonpost.com/outlook/famous… "I'm well aware of the misogyny of most of the last 2000+ years, and a lot of it today. However, this is what feminist Torah looks like--taking what of the tradition has deep and true and durable wisdom and using it to bring a more just vision of the world into being.
Sep 16, 2018 29 tweets 5 min read
This is a thread about what Yom Kippur can teach us about joy. For most of my life, I thought of Yom Kippur as a time for fear and trembling, powerful, intense work, & obvs fasting, self-affliction. But along the way, I got to see another face of the day — one of dancing, singing and celebration as we ask for our lives to be rendered anew.
Sep 14, 2018 23 tweets 4 min read
Here's a thread about feeling the hurt done to us in order to make space to see the ways we've hurt others.

In Exodus, God tells Moses to tell the Israelites that God will free them from Egyptian enslavement, enter into a covenant with them & bring them to the Promised Land. "And Moses spoke thusly to Israel, and they did not hear Moses, because of their situation of kotzer ruach and harsh labor." Kotzer ruach. Literally, shortness of spirit.
Sep 13, 2018 18 tweets 4 min read
“We can’t fix things but we can sit in the ditch with them.”

Reminds me of one of my favorite stories in the Talmud (Brachot 5b). Come and learn/thread:

Rabbi Eleazar fell ill and Rabbi Yochenan went in to visit him. Rabbi Yochenan, we learn a few lines above, has the power of healing. Though he can’t heal himself because “The prisoner cannot free himself from jail.”
Sep 13, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
Lol I got “religion resisters” which is what happens when I checked all the “I pray and go to synagogue a lot” boxes but questioned their simplistic theology options & insist on nuanced historical takes. Also—very Christian-centric. Heaven and Hell as religious markers? This quiz is not smart and also funny.
Sep 9, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
IMHO that's too young too. But if they're really excited about it you can invite them to try just a little bit--no evening snacks after the fast begins or trying to fast in the morning and telling them to come to you when they're ready to eat etc. But (thread, cot'd)

1/x I would definitely have meal-sized food with you for them in synagogue, if you're going, and also snacks, and make a deal with them that they need to eat by like 10:30am or whatever at the latest. That's my gut but note that I am a rabbi and a parent but not a doctor and +
Sep 9, 2018 11 tweets 4 min read
So, for Jews about to spend a ton of time in synagogue looking for some more context for the liturgy, here's my explainer on Kaddish:

Thread with more great relevant @heyBimBam explainers here: 👇 Here's Rabbi @wendigeffen breaking down the overall structure of the service:
Sep 6, 2018 7 tweets 2 min read
What #metoo perps--including Louis CK, Matt Lauer, Mario Batali, Charlie Rose, Bill O’Reilly, Garrison Keillor and Kevin Spacey--and American culture as a whole needs to learn Judaism about forgiveness and repentance.

My latest:

washingtonpost.com/outlook/famous… Are these men sorry? Should they be forgiven? More to the point, perhaps, who has the right to forgive them? According to Jewish law, though, the most critical factor is repentance, tshuvah — the work that a person who has done harm must undertake.
Sep 5, 2018 28 tweets 4 min read
In advance of Rosh Hashana, I want to unpack one of the most loaded bits of liturgy in the tradition.

“Who will live and who will die? Who by the length of their days, and who before their time?”

Thread 1/x

forward.com/life/faith/383… Who will live and who will die?

Who by fire and who by water?

Who by wildfire, and who by hurricane?

Who by repeal of their health care, and who by unjust pricing of their lifesaving medicines?

The questions that we ask on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are not theoretical.
Sep 5, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
"The Bible says all are created in God's image, mandates that we care for the vulnerable--the widow, orphan and non-citizen--that we not oppress the poor, & that the non-citizen be treated as the citizens among us.

Also-- you don't have to be religious to care about people." Since they went after intersectionality I feel obligated to note that the singling out of widows, orphans, non-citizens for extra protection IS intersectionality--that poverty looks different and is heightened when intersected w/gender, family status, national identity.
Sep 5, 2018 8 tweets 3 min read
So this is going to be a thread on both traditional pre-Rosh Hashana prayers and also some of my favorite contemporary poetry and meditations for this season. 1/x Traditionally, Jews recite slichot, penitential prayers, in the month (and especially the week) before Rosh Hashana.