Clal nurtures new skills in leaders, helping them to prepare for the civic, spiritual, intellectual and ethical challenges in American life.
"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...."
"Around Independence Day, an early document of American Jewish life reminds us what matters most about our country. The “Richmond Prayer” of 1789, a Jewish prayer for the country, offers a glimpse of an elated and grateful Jewish community..."
"Do you have a big question about how the world works, or a sense that somehow your life could be different and better than it already is? Do you feel that you have more to offer, or deserve better than you seem to be getting? You are not alone..."
"In my various conversations with rabbis throughout the country, I know that there are ... congregations in the process of experimenting with new ways of being a kehillah ... The Stanton Street Shul is [one such synagogue,] an Orthodox synagogue located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Its community and building are over one hundred years old. The rabbi is Joshua Yuter. This is a synagogue that has both a bricks and mortar and online existence.
"What does it mean to be a “religious school” in the 21st century? The answer can be hard to find, and can make individuals rejoice or retreat, depending on one’s comfort level with discussing such issues...We embrace all faiths – that’s who we are...Rabbi Irwin Kula, who has twice visited St. Paul’s from New York City, including as a member of the 2013 Chapel Review Team, says that religious institutions in the 21st century must meet the challenge of recognizing those who are not religious.