Clal nurtures new skills in leaders, helping them to prepare for the civic, spiritual, intellectual and ethical challenges in American life.
"...Passover is the perfect time – because it's a Passover tradition to read Shir HaShirim, The Song of Songs, the Bible's erotic love poem. Song of Songs celebrates spring, with lush images of flowers in bloom, flocks grazing in green fields, and human lovers flirting. Well, maybe a bit more than flirting, if we take one of the lovers at her word...."
"...With the hope of engaging the diverse group of family members and friends who join us at our seder, I always expand the telling of the Passover story beyond the well-known biblical accounts of the plagues, Pharaoh, the enslavement of the Israelites and the almighty power of God who redeemed them from Egypt. One of the ways I do this is by getting folks talking about a present day person who has done something to highlight one of the many lessons of Passover.
"As the Jewish Holiday of Passover approaches, I was told recently that as opposed to twenty years ago, when 90% of Jews reported that they attended some kind of Passover Seder, this year, more like 65% are expected to attend the Jewish spring ritual. When asked about the waning interest, Jews claim that they are increasingly bored by the 2000 year-old dinner.
Brad Hirschfield discusses the recent news that Canadians are considering physicians-assisted suicide legislation that would allow those suffering from a “serious and incurable illness” to end their lives.
Rabbi Hirschfield finds this consideration problematic. He says that we should focus instead on how we can “ease people’s suffering as much as possible as often as possible.”
View Rabbi Hirschfield's discussion below.
"...The experience of satisfying our curiosity, even if the results are sometimes painful or unpleasant, brings us back to life. There are limits, of course, and that is the difference between a dead cat in an old adage, and real people. But there is something so deeply promising about better appreciating the power of curiosity and the promise of genuine satisfaction to be found in pursuing it, even if we don't love what we discover when we do...."
"...It occurred to me this year that the wisdom of this ‘nice green leaf’ from Carle's simple, but beautiful story can also be found at the Passover Seder, the traditional meal and discussion celebrating the Israelites emergence from slavery in Egypt...."
"...What I've come to learn, over and over again, is that Judaism is a process of engaging with the structures, rituals, and moments of Jewish practice, and people seek out meaning in many different ways. Providing opportunities for experiences, opening the door to tradition through gatherings that are social and not intimidating, people will connect to and engage in these opportunities and make them their own. Last week, the opportunity was drinking good kosher wine.
"...I have family who honor the Sabbath. That Jewish day of rest begins and ends at specific times, not within a range, not when it's convenient or when people feel like it. While I'm not religious, I'm aware that something powerful can happen when a group of people, or even just two, begin or conclude a gathering at the same time and with the same intention...."
"...The Seder is the special meal that takes place on the first night of Pesach (Passover), which is celebrated each year in commemoration of the Israelites' release from captivity in Egypt. The Hebrew word for Egypt is Mizraim – which means boundaries or narrow place. As such, it is said that following the steps of the Seder can enable us to transcend boundaries or restrictive modes of behavior – i.e. those things that enslave us or hold us back...."
"How can a broken cracker transform not only your seder, but your life? And maybe even the race for the presidential nomination?
I know, it sounds like a totally over-the-top, and all-too-unlikely, promise by yet another in the endless line of people selling Jewish practice. Only in this case, it's not. This is a modest proposal regarding a very bold idea — one that really works...."