Clal builds bridges across communities to encourage pluralism, diversity, and openness.
"Most Jews have no problem with science; the challenge is often getting them excited about Judaism. So how can we use science as a way to engage our communities? What are the biggest, most interesting and most pressing questions in the scientific community that also influence Jewish thought and Jewish living? And how can we bring both science and Judaism together to enhance our lives and our communities?
"One of the most classic experiments in the history of psychology is 'the marshmallow test.' In the 1960’s, Stanford professor Walter Mischel placed a marshmallow in front of a group of four-year-olds and told them, 'I have to leave for a few minutes. You can eat the marshmallow now, but if you can wait until I’m back, you can get TWO marshmallows....'
"The most continuous and constant variable mankind possesses is time. But what do we do when it runs out? I’d like to argue that the concept of death and mortality is, by far, the most abstract and difficult to process. The principle of the cancellation of existence, the removal of a soul from a body, and the descent of that body into the earth – is an explicable absence that is truly beyond comprehension. Thus, the work of the elegy extends a hand to the mourner.
"You are my first love, tossed by the sea of my soul. My blood has run with the timeless murmur of your rivers, and I have felt the stillness of your history stir a flame within me. You have fed with me your yawning silence that speaks volumes, your quiet concealment of your passion, your words of wisdom that strike through me and unlock the innermost chambers. You have birthed me, rubbed me raw, and caused me to gleam. Are you not still our mother across the tempest?
"I first met Carl after I had signed the lease on my rental in Old Town Brunswick. The 1880s Victorian was two stories and pale pink. But not as pink as my neighbor, Carl’s, hair which was firmly in the neon/hot hues. He was young, wiry and full of energy. His teeth were rotted but his smile was bright. His short sleeve shirt let show a wide array of colorful tattoos on his forearms suggesting more underneath. I introduced myself as we stood on the patch of grass between his house and mine.
"....This proliferation of seders is sometimes a little overwhelming, but it is also a testament to the power of this holiday. The story of the exodus from Egypt, the Israelites’ going from slavery to freedom and becoming a nation, remains compelling. Groups who are oppressed and struggling for freedom identify with this story, including the founders of the USA and African-Americans in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
"Talk about a bomb shell, even if that is not necessarily the nicest metaphor to employ in a story about terror threats. The vast majority of threats made against Jewish Community Centers around the nation, not to mention the bomb threats phoned in regrading two flights on Delta Airlines, were, it now seems clear, made by a 19 year old Jewish American-Israeli dual citizen.
"Jewish organizations, along with other faith-based and secular social justice organizations, have been ablaze with statements and action alerts during the early stages of the Trump Administration. Efforts began soon after the November election, with some Jewish groups condemning Stephen Bannon’s appointment to Chief White House Strategist and Senior Counselor. Statements have proliferated in recent months, particularly in response to President Trump’s executive orders banning refugees.
"Paying attention to dreams is an ancient Jewish spiritual practice. Our biblical ancestors Isaac and Jacob dreamed of God. Jacob’s son Joseph was a skilled interpreter. He would analyze dream symbols with reference to current events, and articulate truths the dreamer was afraid to face directly.
Last week, I had a dream, highlighting some questions about God that I’ve been afraid to ask directly:
"I think we could all use a little more mercy and compassion. Day after day, the news is filled with fighting, chaos, and tragedy. It can be disheartening and dejecting. We may even find ourselves at odds with the people we love who may feel differently about politics or religion, or who simply interpret an event or action in a different way.