Clal nurtures new skills in leaders, helping them to prepare for the civic, spiritual, intellectual and ethical challenges in American life.
"Sometimes life feels like a wilderness, wild and waste and inhospitable. Sometimes I feel like I'm going in circles, recognizing my own sorrows as ruefully familiar landmarks in an otherwise pathless desert. This painful issue – haven't I been here before? This broken relationship – why are its jagged edges slicing into me again? This dysfunctional work situation – haven't I spent forever struggling with these colleagues and their ill will? Why can't I seem to get out of this place?..."
"...Part of what makes us, us, and a really good part no less, is our checking each other out, and choosing some people as more worthy of our attention and investment than others. So much for preferring openness to the inherent value of all people, to being intuitively judgmental, right? Well, sort of, and this is where an old dichotomous debate gets interesting...."
"...I manage to text, inbox and even tweet. Still I wonder how these technological advances might hurt our relationships with each other and our world. The telephone is no longer used for talking but for Instagram and Snapchat. For my children's generation even email is now considered old-fashioned. Gone are the days of writing letters. Gone are the days of lengthy phone calls that were once our only way to transcend the thousands of miles that separated parent from child.
"...While of course I think it's fine to post joyful moments on Facebook, it's important to recognize these can be hard for friends who are experiencing loss or sadness. Having many friends who have faced fertility struggles, I understand how hard it can be for them to see photos of ultrasounds and newborns on Facebook. Mother's Day and Father's Day posts can be especially challenging for people for all sorts of reasons.
"Or Shalom, Vancouver's East-Side Shul, the synagogue I serve as spiritual leader, is a community of 200 households that has raised funds and the volunteer enthusiasm to sponsor four refugee families, including eight children. Three Kurdish Syrian families remain in harms way in Turkey and Northern Iraq, but one family, an LGBT couple from Iraq, has finally, finally arrived after a long journey from Beirut to Cairo to Toronto to Vancouver...."
"I've had a leather bag full of fear, hanging by a strap over my left shoulder for many years. I've been collecting fear in that bag since early childhood and it's only gotten heavier and more cumbersome. It's no wonder I've got a touch of tendinitis.
"...Believe it or not, this trend affects us all, whether we are dealing with the legal system or not. How? Well, for starters, any time people stop availing themselves of their constitutional rights, including trial by a jury of our peers, we should probably take notice as rights tend to be valued or devalued together. When some go, others typically follow. In this case though, it is especially significant, and it's all about empathy and trust — the bedrock of society...."
"...We seem to be living in a moment that is particularly fraught. Within the Jewish community, leaders who have steered the Jewish community for decades are currently engaged in the game of declaring who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out.’ They have done so without speaking to the generations rising up behind them who have a different relationship with and greater access to information about Israel. They have done so, without speaking to them and understanding their relationships with non-Jews.
"...The other day, I walked to Barnes and Noble at CitiCenter, and was sad to see that, like many brick-and-mortar bookstores, it had closed. And I walked away, wistful, I wondered why I feel so invested in bookstores, especially because I read most news articles on my phone and love Amazon Prime. What is it about aimlessly wandering through a bookstore that feels so good?..."
Rabbis Without Borders Fellow Sandra Lawson has been chosen as one of the JTA's "10 Jews You Should Follow on Snapchat". Sandra, a rabbinical student, spends much of her time explaining weekly Torah portions and demystifying Judaism, as well as encouraging followers to snap her with questions about religious practice.