Clal builds bridges across communities to encourage pluralism, diversity, and openness.
Commentary on Parshat Bo, Exodus 10:1-13:16
"There are aspects of the Passover story, of the Jews being spared and the separateness that they are marked with, as described in the Torah portion Bo, that rub up against some of my more modern and inclusive sensibilities. Having strong ties to academia and the arts, I’ll admit to being influenced by narratives that conflate separateness with narrowness and universalism with expansiveness.
"Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls, authored House File 386 to widen the options available to families, he told the members of the House's Education Finance Committee.Kresha's bill expands an education tax credit program to include private tuition....Kresha gave a passionate defense of his bill.
"Most of us live in a bubble – the bubble of our friends, our family, our workplace and our community. Last night, I had the opportunity to go outside of my bubble and break bread with a group of recent Syrian refugees. As a member of the New York board of Rabbis, I was invited to participate in a friendship dinner through UNICEF. I was part of a small group of Jewish and Christian clergy who were there to welcome these immigrants to our country.
"I had already seen the cover art of this week’s New Yorker magazine in a news feed, but when the magazine arrived in my mailbox , the image – a wisp of smoke ascending from Lady Liberty’s smoldering torch – brought tears to my eyes. The only words I could articulate were, 'This is not what my father went to war for.'
"You’ve probably never heard of him, but my friend, Steven Esses, died last week. He left us from a too-quick and too-brutal bout with one of the worst illnesses on the planet. As per the tradition of my tribe, I won’t even mention its name, just as I’d refuse to mention the name of a murderer or a terrorist–extra publicity is the last thing I’d want to give either of them. But as for Steven, I’d just as soon talk about him all day long.
"'You have to decide who you are, and force the world to deal with you, not with its idea of you.'
"When President Trump issued his executive order banning refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries, setting off a wave of protests and condemnations, many Jewish groups who opposed the ban noted the cruel irony that the ban was issued on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
In addition, Jewish groups also noted with dismay that the statement the Trump White House issued in observance of that day failed to mention Jews specifically, saying that they 'took into account all of those who suffered.'"
"I had been spending a few days with a motley group of American rabbis of all the varied denominations. Many of them I know well; I have deep affection and respect for them. We were in the midst of a talent show; it was supposed to be fun, after a long day with our noses to the grindstone.
"It reminded me of so much we teach from Jewish tradition: That study leads to action. A debate raged in the Talmud about the importance of study versus the importance of action. Rabbi Akiva concluded that study is important because it leads to action, and that’s the first thing that came to mind when I saw the sign. We learn, we teach, we explore our human values through a Jewish lens, so that we can act when action is needed...."
Dear Friend of Clal,
You are receiving this message from Clal precisely because it is genuinely different from any communication we have seen from any other organization which has chosen to speak out about the events in our nation over the past week. We don’t make such claims lightly but were it not the case, we would not be writing at all. This message is about you, regardless of your politics.