It was difficult for Rabbi Andrew Hahn to accept that a traditional rabbinical path was not his calling. Then he discovered Krishna Das’s music. A harmonium purchase came next, and he began composing music based on Hebrew melodies using the call and response structure of kirtan.
"...We all need hope. And the more hopeless things seem, the more we need the encouragement of others. By offering both, Moore did what so many award-winners attempt to do in their acceptance speeches - to make a difference. It worked where many others have failed, because he shared a piece of his experience. He humanized what's so often theorized, and in doing so, spoke to people across many divides that usually only help correctness get in the way of compassion..."
"...Janet R. Kirchheimer feels a personal responsibility to share Holocaust stories with the next generation — not simply by telling people what happened, but by portraying the experience through the arts. Kirchheimer does it through poetry and film…. Kirchheimer’s 2013 film, “How I Knew and When,” is based on one of her poems. The short film stars Kirchheimer and her mother and provides poignant vignettes of their relatives’ experiences both during and immediately after the war...."
"...The Peace Ring was a symbolic act, to show that these Muslims and the many volunteers who participated with them are committed to protect their sisters and brothers who are Jews, and to do so in the name of Islam, the faith that inspires them and to which they devote themselves (organizers were reportedly inspired after a Copenhagen synagogue was attacked earlier this month)..."
"...“Israel right now is the third rail — they’re scared to touch it. They don’t want to alienate or inflame some portion of their congregation.” Rabbi [Rebecca] Sirbu said that the narrative about Israel that people believe has changed over the years. The older generation, who lived through the founding of Israel or the Six Day War, have a far different belief system than those who grew up in the 1990s.
"...Denominations bring scholarship, investment, organization and purpose. Klal Yisrael needs those benefits, and denominations continue to be vital vehicles for them. For those reasons, Jews outside denominationalism do wrong to glibly demonize denominations as inherently corrosive of Jewish spirituality. By the same token, denominations do wrong to diminish or disenfranchise Jews and Jewish leaders whose spiritual or community affiliations grow outside denominational structures. The Mishkan needs their diverse gifts no less.
Rabbi Brad Hirschfield is featured in a new documentary premiering nationally on PBS on March 3, 2015 at 8pm, check local listings. This hour long documentary, directed by Emmy award-winning Andrew Goldberg, traces Jewish immigration to the U.S. through the centuries. Top scholars, notable writers and immigrants themselves share stories of those who made a leap of faith to escape persecution or pursue opportunity. Here is a preview of the documentary.
"Writer and child survivor Aharon Appelfeld stated, 'After the death of the last witnesses, the remembrance of the Holocaust must not be entrusted to historians alone. Now comes the hour of artistic creation.' [Janet R. Kirchheimer is] producing BE•HOLD, a cinematic performance film that explores poetry written about the Holocaust, with director Richard Kroehling.
"...So, are most of us bad people, selfishly going about our business while ignoring the suffering of others? I don't think so. I believe we simply underestimate both how capable we are, and how connected we are to each other. We assume that as long as others are around, somebody will surely help - forgetting that each of us is a somebody..."
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"...We live in an age when experts of all kinds are being challenged and questioned. That is not a bad thing, although it does sometimes make it harder for a society to chart a clear path forward on certain issues. When rabbis speak on issues of pressing relevance to our lives – issues that are also being debated by scientists, by politicians, by doctors, and more, it is to add to the breadth of perspectives that are to be found in the public square on these issues..."