Clal nurtures new skills in leaders, helping them to prepare for the civic, spiritual, intellectual and ethical challenges in American life.
"What has changed in the three years since Newtown?
The children and teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary were no different than any children in teachers in the United States. Three years ago, they set out in the morning to do what teachers and children across the world do every day, learn, teach, share, laugh and grow. And they were doing just that, being exactly as they should have been and then within minutes they were no more...."
This week, TIME Magazine announced their choice for Person of the Year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. One could argue that the next two people on the list, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Donald Trump had a greater impact in 2015, says Brad Hirschfield, President of Clal and co-founder and executive editor of TheWisdomDaily.com, though their impact was negative. Rabbi Hirschfield asks, who is the person of the year in your own life? And have you let them know how important they are to you?
From Odyssey Networks’ FAITH ON THE RECORD
"A few years ago, I was browsing through a Judaica store. After looking at the books, and the Shabbat candlesticks, and the seder plates, I happened to come across something that never would have even occurred to me. It was a light bulb in a box with the words ‘Eternal Light.’ And right below the words ‘Eternal Light,’ were the words, ‘Lasts 4000 hours.’..."
We are very proud that Clal Senior Fellow and Director of our CLI (Clergy Leadership Incubator,) Rabbi Sid Schwarz, gave the Hanukkah address at the White House Hanukkah reception last night. Hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama, the event drew many prominent American Jews along with Israel's President Reuven Rivlin.
Rabbi Irwin Kula, formerly of Congregation B’nai Amoona in Creve Coeur and currently president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL), believes that the organized Jewish community must adapt to new realities regarding connections to mainstream synagogues and organizations....
"...Today, I raise my voice, having chosen my words with great care. I will not comment in class about the offensive remarks of presidential hopefuls. I dare not derail us from our mission to seek Jewish wisdom in our study of Torah that informs our lives and helps us grow as human beings. Instead, I choose to share the narrative of my Grandpa Harry’s immigration, as I recite seven stanzas over the Oberaargauer Brass Band’s rendition of ‘Coming to America....’"
"No matter how much money each of us donated yesterday on what has come to be known as Giving Tuesday, it certainly wasn’t as large a charitable commitment as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan made. On the occasion of the birth of their daughter, Max, yesterday the couple pledged to donate 99 percent of their stock shares of Facebook (currently about $45 billion) during their lifetimes to improve the world for the next generation...."
“‘We don’t have a Jewish identity problem,’ says Kula. ‘The problem is that the majority of Jews who are proud of their identities and feel connected to their religion are not using the products, services and delivery systems of the organized Jewish community.’ Kula, together with co-president Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, are recapturing the Clal mission of its founders Rabbi Irving ‘Yitz’ Greenberg and Elie Wiesel.
"As the calendar flips to December, nightfall comes ever earlier, and many of us don our winter coats for the first time, Jews throughout America once again will encounter a challenging cultural/religious question: how should we celebrate Hanukkah? Sure, there will be candle-lighting and latkes, but what else? Lavish presents? Contemporary, catchy songs? Vodka and latke parties? Or, to put it more succinctly, how much like Christmas should our Hanukkah celebration be?..."
"Hanukkah is coming. It’s time to tell stories about armed resistance against oppression. Children will read about the five brave Maccabee sons in picture books. Hebrew school students will enact dramatic battles in seasonal plays. Feminists and art lovers will view graphic paintings of Judith cutting off the head of Holofernes. Musicians will sing about the wars won by God and human beings. We’ll experience a cathartic cycle of fear, excitement, anxiety, relief and joy...."