Clal nurtures new skills in leaders, helping them to prepare for the civic, spiritual, intellectual and ethical challenges in American life.
"This week’s Torah portion, Ki Tetse, contains a litany of laws covering a myriad of topics: war, divorce, agriculture, public safety, slavery, sexuality, animal husbandry, memory, and vengeance. Standing on its own in the middle of the portion, sandwiched between these weighty issues is a brief comment, “You shall make tassels on the four corners of the garment with which you cover yourself.” [Deuteronomy 22:12]..."
This week, a Tennessee magistrate adjudicating a custody dispute took it upon herself to change a baby's name from "Messiah DuShawn Martin" to "Martin DuShawn McCullough." Judge Lu Ann Bellew said "The word Messiah is a title and it's a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ." "This story is a very serious cautionary tale about what makes America great," says Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, and represents a threat to personal freedom, and especially religious freedom whi
"What does it mean to build a great society? While that phrase may be most closely associated (in recent years at least) with the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, it has been the animating focus of many great American leaders, and one of the central issues for the Jewish people from the start...."
Rabbi Kula will hold a talk with questions and answers on "Religion Without Borders: What Do We Hire Religion to Do for Us?" on Thursday from 5:30-6:30 pm at the Aspen Chapel, Castle Creek Road at Highway 82 roundabout, Aspen, CO. This event is part of the Chapel's Summer Enrichment Series. If you're in the area, please join us for the talk!
From Clal 8/7/13
"The birth of a child is one of the most precious and precarious times in our lives. When we welcome a new life into the world, we are overcome with exhaustion, yet overjoyed with the perfect child we are holding in our arms. In the Jewish tradition, while we are still in a daze of new parenthood, we are commanded to take our eight-day-old sons and ritually circumcise them.
‘‘I may not hear very well, but I really know how to listen,’ says Rabbi Darby Leigh, as deaf Jews make strides in the community. On Aug. 1, Rabbi Darby Leigh will begin his tenure as leader of Congregation Kerem Shalom in Concord, Mass. Leigh is “profoundly deaf.” Without his hearing aids, he is unable to distinguish sounds below 90 decibels (the average range of a hearing person is 0-120 decibels, with speech being somewhere around 60 decibels).
"The weekly Torah portion, Ekev, connects spirituality with eating. It states, “When you have eaten your fill, give thanks to the Lord your God for the good land which he has given you.” [Deuteronomy 8:10] The Sabbath and other festivals all offer chances for splendid meals and, in response, we express gratitude for our many gifts and blessings. Jews often ritualize this gratitude through birkat ha-mazon, the grace after meals..."
"How do we mourn and express our grief for tragedies? How do we remember them when we are separated from them by large amounts of time and space? How do we speak about, let alone think about, the unthinkable?..."
"Anyone who strove to immigrate to America saw this country as a place where, through a combination hard work and good luck, their children would have a better life than they themselves had..."
"In the double Torah portion Matot-Mase’ei—“matot” means “tribes,” and “mase’ei” means “marches”—we read about Israelites drafted for military action. For a campaign against the Midianites, “Moses spoke to the people, saying, ‘Let men be picked out from among you for a campaign,’” [Num. 31:3]. There is no sense here that the men are volunteers, though there is a sense that any man called will serve...."