Clal builds bridges across communities to encourage pluralism, diversity, and openness.
"Last week, as I began my annual exploration of Jewish ethical wisdom on the use of speech, or lashon hara, I found myself confronted with a response from some high school aged students that I hadn’t expected. I asked if they knew what ‘trolling‘ was. One of them responded, ‘trolling is fun. Its fun to get a rise out of someone.’ Upon further probing, the response was qualified. ‘Only if its someone you know well; a friend that you are just teasing, and you know that you haven’t crossed a line.’ ‘How do you know?’ I asked.
"Over the past several months, I have been given a daily gift. It doesn’t have a monetary value, nor does it come in a big box, but rather it is one of those intangible gifts that just keeps on giving. Recently, I was invited to be part of a group of rabbis through CLAL who are seeking to blend the science of Positive Psychology through Human Flourishing with religion, specifically Judaism, for something now called the Flourishing Project.
"If you are reading The Wisdom Daily, there is a better than decent chance you already know what a life-hack is, and you may even check out sites like lifehacker for concrete ways to make your life a little easier, happier or healthier. But what is soul-hacking, and how is it different from life-hacking? That is what I asked our editor, Elad Nehorai, when he first proposed turning an off-the-cuff phrase I had used, into a regular feature at on TWD.
"Each night, Tisha would climb 25 feet into the air, spinning and twirling over a captive audience of thousands, as the sequins in her dazzling array of costumes reflected the sparkle in her eyes.
'What were you thinking about as you flew through the air?' I asked her.
"Once I had my own children, there was an entire part of myself that I realized needed cultivating. And interestingly enough, my own advice worked on other parents, but I had no idea how to give it to myself. My own wisdom was suddenly not as clear to me. I couldn’t hear myself as cogently. I didn’t believe in myself in the way that others believed in me. I entered an unknown world, even though I was the one who helped facilitate that same world for hundreds of others.
"I have been debating this question a lot over the past month. The Jewish Community Center where my daughter attends dance class and where I (sometimes) work out has received two bomb threats. The JCC where I worked for almost eight years has received several more. I feel like it is only a matter of time until my daughters Jewish Day School gets a call and she and her friends are evacuated from the building.
"Several weeks ago, I was at a conference in New York City sponsored by T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. It was called 'No Time for Neutrality' and it was planned in response to the wholesale assault on civil liberties and democratic values coming from the Trump Administration, specifically the attempt to curtail immigration from certain Muslim majority countries.
First of all, thank you for being an usher tonight. I’ve always had an admiration for what you do, and for the whole world of the Great White Way. Tonight, I was really excited to see one of my favorite musicals being revived on Broadway. I used to live for this stuff, and after being estranged from the theatre scene for a while, I still do love it. However, it’s been hard to get back to that world to after a few 'medical detours.' Physically and emotionally.
"Today is International Women’s Day, and we have a confluence, as we sometimes do, between secular observances and our Jewish calendar. For just three days after International Women’s Day we celebrate Purim, a holiday in which the accomplishments of women are pivotal to the story.
"The following letter to the Palestinian people shall never be sent. After at least three rewritings and endless discussions among my colleagues, it has been concluded that it would never have the effect we had hoped. Its message would be misused and distorted by the traumatized Palestinian people whose hearts it was meant to open. And the backlash it would cause in my Jewish community among those who have come back to settle the hills of Judea after our 2000 year exile, would be fierce and unforgiving.