Clal nurtures new skills in leaders, helping them to prepare for the civic, spiritual, intellectual and ethical challenges in American life.
What does it look like when one version of Judaism dies and another is born? Irwin Kula, President of Clal - The National Center for Learning and Leadership, joins Dan and Lex for a conversation about that question and much more. This episode represents Part I of a two-part conversation with Kula.
"...An educator recently said, “The essential trait of grit is no longer being taught as an equal value to intellect. Successful students in the current system are actually sometimes being set up for long-term failure. When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, they have not been taught the capacity to adapt and recreate. They don’t just need the metrics of algebra, but also that of perseverance, empathy and optimism.
"Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls, authored House File 386 to widen the options available to families, he told the members of the House's Education Finance Committee.Kresha's bill expands an education tax credit program to include private tuition....Kresha gave a passionate defense of his bill.
"Most of us live in a bubble – the bubble of our friends, our family, our workplace and our community. Last night, I had the opportunity to go outside of my bubble and break bread with a group of recent Syrian refugees. As a member of the New York board of Rabbis, I was invited to participate in a friendship dinner through UNICEF. I was part of a small group of Jewish and Christian clergy who were there to welcome these immigrants to our country.
"I had already seen the cover art of this week’s New Yorker magazine in a news feed, but when the magazine arrived in my mailbox , the image – a wisp of smoke ascending from Lady Liberty’s smoldering torch – brought tears to my eyes. The only words I could articulate were, 'This is not what my father went to war for.'
"'You have to decide who you are, and force the world to deal with you, not with its idea of you.'
"I had been spending a few days with a motley group of American rabbis of all the varied denominations. Many of them I know well; I have deep affection and respect for them. We were in the midst of a talent show; it was supposed to be fun, after a long day with our noses to the grindstone.
"It reminded me of so much we teach from Jewish tradition: That study leads to action. A debate raged in the Talmud about the importance of study versus the importance of action. Rabbi Akiva concluded that study is important because it leads to action, and that’s the first thing that came to mind when I saw the sign. We learn, we teach, we explore our human values through a Jewish lens, so that we can act when action is needed...."
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You are receiving this message from Clal precisely because it is genuinely different from any communication we have seen from any other organization which has chosen to speak out about the events in our nation over the past week. We don’t make such claims lightly but were it not the case, we would not be writing at all. This message is about you, regardless of your politics.
"I jumped onto the uptown 5 train just as the doors were closing. I pushed my way through the wall of people, blocking the doors and empty seats. It was the middle of the afternoon on a weekday, prime train time, apparently. I put my bag on the floor and squeezed between two shoulders on the bench. I wasn’t dying to sit down, I just figured I’d take up less space that way. The doors shut and the automated train announcer politely requested that we stand clear of the closing doors.