Clal builds bridges across communities to encourage pluralism, diversity, and openness.
"This fall, nine Hillel outposts across North America started testing out whether Jewish organizations can become more relevant by developing a radically ‘user-centric’ mindset and then building all of their other institutional priorities, structures and communication in support of that mindset.
"...Before I can reach club security though, one of the bouncers calls me from behind, yelling a question I do not understand in German. When I confirm he’s talking to me, he switches to English and begins translating his scary counterpart’s questions. The frightening bouncer speaking in German is Sven Marquardt, who the NYTimes described when reviewing his photography: “His lower lip is pierced twice, and a pointed metal bar runs through his septum.
"Are you afraid of things that go bump in the night? I was, but I’ve been taking a course — well, officially I’ve been teaching a course — on this very subject, and now I am not afraid.
Don’t get me wrong; there is plenty to fear in these uncertain times. Somehow, though, learning about all the things people feared in previous centuries and how they accounted for things they couldn’t explain has given me a fresh perspective...."
"...I’ve stumbled upon so many wandering and wondering people (including myself), trying so desperately to choose their own “little boxes” to live in. They want structure, they want rules, and above all, an outlook, a perspective; a box, a safe place to look up at the mountains from. At the same time, we constantly grapple with the simplicity of these once-concrete structures. We are all many things. We pick and choose, we follow rules, and we break rules.
"...Researcher on the psychology of threat, Daniel Sullivan, published about the best summary and explanation of why people scapegoat, and how his appreciation of that served Mr. Trump. You can read the whole piece – not terribly long and totally accessible for the non-experts which most of us are – at Quartz.
"I am a rabbi. I am 46 years old. I am also the granddaughter and grand-niece of Germans who were and are not Jewish. What that means is that my grandfather and my great-uncles were in the German army during WWII, during the Holocaust.
"It seems that we have entered a new era. Taking in the news, it seems to be an open season on hate against just about everyone. In my own Facebook bubble, I have noticed more and more language of “us and them.” More and more hostility, less and less generosity of spirit, and a torrent of finger pointing with a heaping dose of passive-aggressive insults thrown in. It might be easy to say that all of this is a result of the election of Donald Trump who very liberally used insults and blame throughout his campaign.
"...Nothing. I tried again, held down the power key for longer, my pulse quickening, my breath coming short and fast. “No, no, no, no,” I whispered. “Not today. This can not be happening.”
I felt my face heating up, hands beginning to shake. I was thousands of miles away from the nearest Apple store, and a 24-hour plane ride away from the storage box where my backup hard drive was. At least two editors were expecting work from me later that day...."
"In 1996, I fell in love with Marsha Falk’s feminist revision of the blessing I’d been giving my daughters every Friday evening, and traded my wish that they grow up to be like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah for a blessing that the children be all that they can be and be blessed in who they are.
"So here we are, three weeks after the presidential election, and it ain’t an easy time to be a Jewish communal leader. From rabbis to federation CEOs and heads of other Jewish institutions, we are being called upon to choose how to respond to the election results in very public and profound ways. From where I sit, and the (countless) conversations I have had with colleagues in recent days, there are two primary ways to react: as prophets or as pastors...."