Clal nurtures new skills in leaders, helping them to prepare for the civic, spiritual, intellectual and ethical challenges in American life.

Taking the First Step: Labor Day September 2, 2013

" The early labor movement is a story of liberation. In the late nineteenth and the early twentieth century, many workers faced low wages, long hours, and unsanitary conditions. Bathroom breaks, fair pay, sick leave, and vacation were for most like dreams of a promised land..."

Ties That Bind: NITZAVIM-VAYEILECH August 31, 2013

" Whether it’s planning to spend a night away from home, or moving to a new country, what we pack speaks volumes to how we plan to spend our time. Especially for someone moving to a new country, the possessions they decide to take with them—and those they choose not to take with them—reflect their sense of who they are, and the lives they hope to lead in their new homes..."

New Riffs on The New Year August 30, 2013

"‘Increasing numbers of people are actually not coming to synagogue to celebrate Rosh HaShanah or Yom Kippur, but are doing home/familial observances,’ offering personal prayers or itemizing developments for which they are thankful, says Rabbi Irwin Kula...‘The number of people who always go to shul on the High Holy Days — that constituency is shrinking,’ says Rabbi Sid Schwarz, senior fellow at Clal"...

Stepping Towards Freedom: KI TAVO August 24, 2013

"...The Torah portion, Ki Tavo, opens with Moses instructing the people of Israel on what to do upon entering the Land of Israel. In addition to giving gifts of thanksgiving to the priest, they are to declare the origins of their faith, beginning with the story of Abraham’s fugitive escape. The abilities to share gifts, tell one’s story without inhibitions, and declare one’s faith are definitive signs freedom..."

The Power of Small Tallit: KI TETSE August 17, 2013

"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]..."

Brad Hirschfield On A Baby Named Messiah August 16, 2013

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

When American and Jewish Are One: SHOFTIM August 10, 2013

"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...."

What Does Religion Do for Us? Thurs. 5:30 PM, 8/8/13, Aspen Chapel August 7, 2013

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

Celebrating our Heritage: RE'EH August 3, 2013

"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.

Deaf Rabbi Prepares To Lead a Hearing Congregation in Massachusetts July 29, 2013

‘‘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).

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