Clal builds bridges across communities to encourage pluralism, diversity, and openness.
"That year a group of white supremacists moved into town. It was part of a larger broader movement to make the region one that was ‘safe’ from gays, blacks, Jews, and all the other groups that did not fit into the narrow bigoted vision these racists were trying to make a reality. Not content to simply think these ideas, the white supremacists began covering Native American and African American gathering places and churches with vitriolic graffiti.
"Jewish actress Natalie Portman announced to Jimmy Fallon that she is going to have a Christmas tree for the first time this year. And lots of people (including many of my rabbi friends) on social media are upset. This is something I hear every year from many of my rabbinic colleagues: Isn’t it horrible to see photos of Jews with Christmas trees?...."
Join Rabbi Dan of Because Jewish for an exciting evening on Friday, December 9. Korban Shabbat is a loose, free-form, Friday Night experience that is Jewish in content and feeling. Adapting, adopting and appropriating styles from multiple communities and perspectives, no two Korban events are the same.
"...It was some years ago that my friend and I were enjoying a casual summer weekend at his pool. As we watched our young children play, we stood and talked in the pool’s shallow end. I casually mentioned a story about his father and a memory I recalled. His dad had wired the house with some sort of intercoms of his own creation–long before cellphones and Walkie-Talkies.
I still remember that moment. I still recall looking into my friend’s face.
"...We covered our communities’ responses to the election. He pastors to some young students, and he was able to give them the gift of time’s perspective – what it meant to be Muslim in the Reagan years, or what it felt like when Kennedy was shot. He told me about the soup kitchen he works at; how he prefers to enter anonymously, work the carrots, work the onions, and is sure to eat the same meal as the guests.
"...I was working City Hall one day when two guests came in with two little girls. One was in a wheel chair and the other one looked like she had just seen death. Both were cut and bruised and the one in the wheelchair had her arm in a cast. The two women were actually nurses from a hospital and were asking for a refund on the girl’s tickets, something we avoided doing at all costs. When I asked why they told me the story.
"Observation is a key life skill, and it’s one we are losing rapidly. I know I’m guilty of looking down at my phone more than up at the sky, and so I often don’t even know what I’m missing.
"...On the instruction of their trainers, Pokémon battle one another to see who will prevail. When they are in circumstances of extraordinary extremis, they glow with an inner light and then evolve into new forms with new names. When a Pokémon evolves, it retains the memories, relationships, and general personality of its previous form. But it also changes, growing into a new version of itself with new skills and abilities, denoted by its new name.
"...But on a deeper level, I think there’s a lot that will still speak to us. While technology accelerates rapidly, the speed of change in human nature is glacial. Our brains’ wiring, our need for connection, and our deepest fears and most fervent desires haven’t changed much in hundreds of thousands of years. And Black Mirror is not really about the technology; it’s about how we fragile and imperfect humans are grappling with an ever-changing world.
"It happens every year like clockwork.