"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...."
"...The Rabbis Without Borders Network is a pluralistic group of rabbis. That means that we do not have to all believe in one way of doing things in order to be in communication and community with each other. We like to hear each other's divergent views, learn more about each other, and hopefully model for others how this can be done in a respectful way, without the vicious acrimony we are currently seeing in our larger society...."
Brad Hirschfield discusses how a number of states in the U.S., most recently North Carolina and Mississippi, have passed laws that protect religious freedom. But what are the motives behind these laws?
Rabbi Hirschfield makes a point that true religious freedom comes only when all religions are protected, and that means protecting your own interests, but also the interests of others. View Rabbi Hirschfield's discussion below.
From Odyssey Networks’ FAITH ON THE RECORD
"...It's not that being wary of dangers is a bad teaching per se, but when we ponder the drawbacks of the proverb's dreaded attribute, how often do we remind ourselves, or our kids, or one another – that curiosity is one of the foundational tools of a healthy society, inspiration and excellent communication? Yes, sure, we know that, but...do we really know it?..."
"...We are who we are, and that is going to be part of pretty much all that we do. At the same time, the list of what that includes is longer and richer than we often know. That sounds more like the God who tells Moses ‘I will be who I will be’, no?..."
"...We often forget that the question of ‘who am I?’ is not a fixed one — it's a contextual one, dependent on what our role is with other people. And while we do need ‘firm identities’ in the limited roles we play, we also need to be fluid enough to shift from one role to the next. It's not our personality traits but what we bring to the world that defines ‘who we are....’"
"...This was one of many lists I created every night in the hospital. I'd make myself think of something I was grateful for from A to Z, even when I hated my circumstances. By rummaging through my angry and frustrated thoughts, eventually, some positivity submerged. By the time I reached ‘Z,’ my life had not changed dramatically, but my thoughts had...."