Clal nurtures new skills in leaders, helping them to prepare for the civic, spiritual, intellectual and ethical challenges in American life.
How a new understanding of two old words, could not only bring you greater happiness, but also help heal our fractured world.
"...When my mind starts to spin about my perfection sermon, what I've always considered my ‘perfect’ sermon, I try and stop. I take a few deep breaths and say a prayer of forgiveness. I forgive myself for lusting after perfection. I remind myself how very human I am. And I remember that no one sitting in my congregation is judging me on a scale of zero to perfection. Deep inside, I know that no one wants a perfect sermon. They want a real message...."
"...This is the work the High Holidays ask us to do. I hope you can contemplate these questions over the next couple of weeks and check in with yourself. This kind of self-examination can be difficult, but also very rewarding...."
By Rabbi Rebecca W. Sirbu, Director of Clal's Rabbis Without Borders, from the Rabbis Without Borders Blog on My Jewish Learning.com
"Last night, I watched as a close friend of mine, a dynamite warrior woman of Korean descent, sang and prayed in her ancestral tongue for close to twenty minutes in front of an altar bearing fruit and burning incense.
"...My point to my daughter, and to anyone else who has been asking me my thoughts today, is that there are real dangers in this world, in our nation, and on the streets of my own city. They are real, they draw inspiration from particular places and systems of belief, and we cannot afford to shy away from any of that if we hope to successfully address those dangers. But that is only part of the story, and certainly not more than half of it.
"...On Rosh Hashanah, tradition says, we stand before the Creator of All Who regards us in judgment. The liturgy for that day teaches that the book of our lives reads from itself: the book of our choices and our actions over the last year, signed by our own hand. No matter how much inner work I do over the coming weeks, there's no way I can really be ready to stand before God and face full awareness of everywhere I've fallen short...."
"...But, the National Anthem is not a loyalty pledge, it is liturgy. It is a national, civic ‘prayer.’ Liturgy expresses values and ideals and provides a common language of connection. Liturgy can be at once descriptive and aspirational. And liturgy carries with it multiple meanings and can mean different things to different people. Our engagement with it must be dynamic and nuanced...."
"One of the things I most love about the High Holidays is their focus on universality. During the rest of the year, Jewish consciousness and Jewish prayer concentrate primarily on the concerns of the Jewish People, while the season of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur turns our attention to the entirety of the human race and to the world as a whole. Although it is certainly understandable that throughout most of the calendar our emphasis is on our Jewish family and our Jewish needs, for me it is a bit myopic and constricting.
"...As a petite teenager with size 10 feet, my mother drove me dozens of miles to Tall Gals, a specialty shop whose name acted like salt in the wound as I was nowhere near statuesque. Their mostly staid selections did not excite me and often we returned empty handed. That I couldn't wear the latest styles like everyone else or easily find bargains on sale amplified feelings of envy and of being on the footwear fringe.
"...someone does not have to wrong for you to be right. Of course they may be, but there is often no good reason to start with that presumption, and very often, many good reasons not to. From a purely strategic standpoint, as Pascal points out, we are more likely to successfully persuade someone of our own view, if we start by seeing at least the partial truth in theirs...."