• June 30, 2022

    When the Law is Unjust, We Break the Law
    By Rabbi Lizz Goldstein (’16)

    Last week, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, withdrawing the already paltry federal protections on abortion rights. Many states already had trigger laws in place and abortion access became unavailable to thousands of people overnight. Congress had 50 years to codify federal legislation to allow reproductive freedom throughout the country. A leak of the current Supreme Court decision broke out about six weeks ago, allowing time for the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government, dominated by people who claim to support reproductive freedom and choice, to react before the decision was formally handed down. And yet, no preparations were made for this moment. Very few elected officials did anything to protect us, but so many were ready to wail and moan with us and ask for our votes and money as soon as the SCOTUS Read More >

  • September 3, 2021

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    The Covenant is for Everyone
    A D’var Torah for Parashat Nitzavim
    By Rabbi Lizz Goldstein (’16)

    This weekend, I was blessed to officiate over a Baby Naming. Like the other two baby namings I have done this year, this is a baby born at the beginning of the pandemic when parents were very reluctant to plan any kind of celebration. As much as March through May 2020 were a particularly terrifying and isolating time for all of us, I can only imagine how much more so that was true for parents of a newborn. And so, it is with so much joy and relief that we gather this weekend, even among rising concerns of the Delta variant and the possibility of returning to online High Holy Day services, to finally officially welcome this now-toddler into the Jewish community with a Read More >

  • July 9, 2021

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    A D’var Torah for Parashiyot Mattot-Masei
    By Rabbi Lizz Goldstein (’16)

    Hodesh Tov. The height of summer is upon us, and with it three weeks of mourning bookended by fasting during a season we most need to be drinking plenty of fluids. I have written elsewhere before about my ambivalence over Tisha B’Av and the Three Weeks, and this year is no different. This Shabbat, we read the second of three Haftarot of Affliction, along with Parashiyot Mattot-Masei. These Haftarot admonish the Israelites for their constant idol-worship and warns of the conquering army on its way to punish them. This cycle of community dissolution and rejection of HaShem, followed by destruction and diaspora, continued in the days of the Second Temple, and so we read them in the oppressive heat of summer to remember the fall of both Read More >

  • May 14, 2021
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    A D’var Torah for Parashat Bemidbar
    By Rabbi Lizz Goldstein (’16)The summer is nearly here, more and more adults are vaccinated, and it seems new opportunities for gathering will become available. And yet, the language of “reopening” or “returning to normal” feels complicated for me. Setting aside for the moment all the issues that already existed in the old normal which were exacerbated and highlighted during the pandemic but largely ignored on the level of institutional change, the concept of “returning” now rings false when faced with the reality of how many people have been out and about right along. Some due to financial necessity, some due to youthful feelings of immortality, and some due to misinformation and the politicization of the virus. Now there are reports of variant strains of the coronavirus, that herd Read More >
  • March 19, 2021

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    Sacrifices, Disappointment, and Hope
    A D’var Torah for Parashat Vayikra
    By Rabbi Lizz Goldstein (’16)

    Good news: I have been vaccinated! Perhaps I should make an offering to God in gratitude. What might that look like?

    This week’s Torah portion, Parashat Vayikra, details several types of sacrifices that will be brought into the freshly-built Mishkan: the olah, or burnt offering; the shelamim, or peace/wholeness offering; five variations of minha offerings, ways to give meal for those who cannot afford the animals of the other offerings; the hattat, or sin offering, with variations depending on the type of sin and sinner; and lastly the asham, or guilt-offering for trespass specifically against God. While most of these give at least some indication of why a person might bring them, the olah and the minha offerings seem to be “just ‘cuz”. So, in feeling Read More >

  • January 22, 2021

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    A D’var Torah for Parashat Bo
    By Rabbi Lizz Goldstein (’16)

    As I write this, the National Guard are gathering in abundance just a few miles away from me. It feels near impossible to try to plan ahead remarks for Shabbat this week, when our country and democratic institutions seem to be on unstable ground. I feel hopeful for a high probability of a relatively normal inauguration day, but I cannot ignore that there is still a distinct possibility for further violence and attempts to overthrow democracy, a reprise of the events of January 6th. By the time this is published, inauguration day will be history, but even if it does go smoothly, I implore you not to write off the concerns as hyperbolic or hysterical. That sort of dismissal has allowed for escalating violence throughout history, and we Read More >

  • November 27, 2020


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    Noticing the Good (and the Bad)
    A D’var Torah for Parashat Vayeitzei
    By Rabbi Lizz Goldstein (’16)

    I always feel a bit conflicted at this time of year, and in some ways this year’s necessary changes have alleviated some of my discomfort around celebrating Thanksgiving. I love this day for food and family, for gratitude and the opportunity to share all that we have, but sometimes it’s impossible to ignore that this holiday is based on a white-washed version of history that in reality led to genocide. It’s one thing to take the time out of our busy lives to just enjoy a pause for hakarat hatov – noticing the good. But is it necessary in a time of physical shut down and overwhelming flow of information of the good and bad in this country?

    I recall some Read More >

Rabbi Lizz Goldstein

Rabbi Lizz Goldstein (AJR ’16) is the rabbi of Congregation Ner Shalom, a heimish Reform synagogue in Northern VA, where she lives with her husband and cat.