Building Bridges

Clal builds bridges across communities to encourage pluralism, diversity, and openness.

The Wisdom Daily: Praying Into the Void for a Connection October 7, 2015

"...after reading this devastatingly beautiful ‘Missed Connection’ recently, I'm reminded once again that the mere act of bravely setting our prayers free – into the void – can be just as beneficial to our souls as the actual thing we're asking for. The Craigslist poster, unidentified thus far, reaches into the virtual abyss to connect with someone he met 43 years ago.

The Wisdom Daily: Who Would You Wish to Spend One Last Day With? October 6, 2015

"If there were any person in your life, living or dead, with whom you could spend one last day, who would it be? And how would you spend that day? No, I'm not stealing this question from college applications. I'm feeling the pain of the mass murder at Umpqua Community College in Oregon and the killings of Eitam and Na'ama Henkin in Israel. The deep desire to hold close those I love is definitely part of my response...."

Brad Hirschfield on A Wedding Made Unforgettable by Dad’s Decision October 2, 2015

At Brittany Peck's wedding in Ohio last month, she reportedly worried about who should walk her down the aisle. Putting her feelings first, her father surprised guests when he reached a hand out to Brittany's stepfather, pulled him from his seat, put their animosity aside and insisted that he participate in the bride's entrance. The wedding photos taken by Delia Blackburn have gone viral, and it's clear why according to Brad Hirschfield: "There are probably more good partners in our lives than we realize [and] the kind of love and open-hearted honesty that led to that moment? We all need more of it."

From Odyssey Networks’ FAITH ON THE RECORD

The Wisdom Daily: Shelter Me -- Faith in an Imperfect World September 30, 2015

"At this time of year, what is the importance of the sukkah? The temporary shelter stands with a roof made of branches that do not provide a full cover. If it rains, the inside is made unusable and a very strong wind may knock it down. And yet we plan the weeklong autumnal holiday of Sukkot to be spent eating (and in some places, sleeping) under it.

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Small But Proud Jewish Communities September 28, 2015

"I grew up in a fairly small Jewish community. In the ’80s, Austin, Texas was not the cool mecca it is today. There was one small Reform synagogue and one small Conservative synagogue. There was only one other Jewish kid in my class in grade school. I remember each year having to explain to my teacher that I would be out for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and having her say, “Russia what?”..."

Pope Francis, a Rabbi, Mercy, and Rosh Hashanah September 16, 2015

"I know the title, Pope Francis, a Rabbi, Mercy, and Rosh Hashanah, sounds a bit like the set up for an old Borscht Belt routine. It is anything but.

The Wisdom Daily: Why We Freeze Up and Forget How to Communicate September 16, 2015

"We've lost the art of civil discourse. According to an annual "Civility in America" survey, more than 90% of us now consider lack of civility a real problem. More than a third of us admit to being uncivil to others. When we take into account social desirability bias, we know that there are a lot more of us out there who are not engaging in civil discourse. Our inability to enter into genuine conversation is undermining our communities and denying ourselves the opportunity to learn about each other.

Rabbis Pitch In To Help Small Communities: CLAL's 'Service Corps' Addresses Isolation Of Places Without Clergy September 16, 2015

"Small towns in Georgia, South Carolina, and the Bahamas, and even some non-Orthodox communities in Israel are the first to respond to an invitation from Clal…, to submit a request for a part-time rabbi. They are part of a new Clal initiative known as the Rabbinic Service Corps. A network of 150 rabbis has agreed to donate their time and head out to far-flung communities for a few days each year to provide services to communities where there are no clergy.

Unlock Rosh Hashana 2015 September 11, 2015

Unlock Rosh Hashanah.
Unleash your best self.
Create The Year You Yearn For.

It’s all there, in three little Hebrew words at the center of the High Holiday liturgy.

Malkhuyot, Zikhronot and Shofarot. Words of greatness and sovereignty, companionship and memory, and the joyful blasts of the shofar.

These three defining sections of the Rosh Hashanah service remind us of a deeper truth than some of the guilt and negative feeling that many of us often associate with the High Holidays. We are more powerful, less alone and have much more to celebrate than we often recognize. By celebrating those claims, we can get to where we want to be — or at least a whole lot closer, on Rosh Hashanah and throughout the rest of the year.

The real question is whether or not we believe in ourselves as much as Rosh Hashanah believes in us?

The Wisdom Daily: It's a Season of Renewal. So Why Do I Feel Anxious? September 11, 2015

"This season is supposed to be one of renewal. The transition from summer to fall brings a cooler breeze, a change of color and the promise of brand new page in the books of our lives. We buy new clothes for our kids, who walk into their classrooms with the excitement of being a grade older, with the opportunity to begin with a clean slate. It sounds prospectively exciting, but I wonder why so many seem to feel so darn anxious about it...including my wife, my kids and me...."

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