"There is an African tradition that teaches when a person says “Hi” to a neighbor, instead of returning the salutation with the same “Hi,” the neighbor is to respond, “I see you.” How incredibly wise. We pass each other by and so often simply offer perfunctory words of greeting. But as human beings, perhaps, more than anything, we just want to be seen and heard and understood. This African tradition reminds us that we have to intentionally pause and acknowledge and see from a layer underneath.
Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger is an active and early member of Rabbis Without Borders, innovating in the most critical area with deep and ethical pluralism around the Israeli-Palestinian relationship. His organization, Roots, is dedicated to fostering a grassroots movement of understanding, nonviolence and transformation among Israelis and Palestinians.
Continue a new tradition - for the second consecutive year Because Jewish is hosting Bowl Hashanah (Rosh Hashanah at Brooklyn Bowl) with musician Jeremiah Lockwood and meditation teacher Miriam Eisenberger. Last year was sold out, and tickets will go fast again. Plan to get yours early, and take advantage of the early-bird-rate!
"...This year I'm especially excited to visit their open day because our congregation is one of the 11 recipients of a ‘Scientists in Synagogues’ grant from Rabbi Geoff Mitelman's innovative ‘Sinai and Synapses’ project. We'll be spending the next year and a half (and beyond, I hope), considering how Science and Judaism can collaborate in ways that give us new ways to consider essential questions of life. I can think of no question more essential than ‘Who am I’?..."
"This past Monday the New York area got hit by a massive summer storm. I meant to leave work early to avoid having to drive up the New Jersey Turnpike, but I left late and got stuck in the worst of it. Instead of my usual 40-minute drive home, it took almost 90 minutes. When I got off at my exit, I was greeted by a flooded off-ramp that trapped my car, and the cars of my fellow commuters in front of a deep lake of water.
"I love being a rabbi. I cannot imagine doing or being anything else. I am proud of my work for the past 18 years. I am also proud that my 18th year in the rabbinate marks a significant change, as I transitioned from working in established synagogues to becoming the founder and spiritual leader of Makom NY: a new model for Jewish community on Long Island.
My reflections on 18 years, with my new perspective...."
"...My interest in all this was reawakened as I watch the controversy stirred up by Donald Trump's response to Khizr Kahn's words, and Mrs. Kahn's presence, on the stage at the Democratic National Convention. People — again — are arguing whether this will be Trump's self-immolation.
"...Redefining manliness, as the ability to give love ever more freely doesn't render a man effete, it makes him powerful. Showing up with a warm and open heart demands strength, it demands that a man become more badass, and less baby. And with that demand comes the responsibility of bestowing that same strength to the ones he loves most...."
"...The fact that I am female continues to color how people view me as a rabbi and a leader. I have had to learn to work with this reality. Sixteen years into my rabbinate I am still working on it. There is no getting over ‘the female factor.’ I have been passed over for jobs because of it. I have been underestimated and misunderstood. I simply don't look like what a leader is ‘supposed’ to look like...."
"I am a tribalist – full stop. I admit it, I am proud of it, and I invite others to appreciate the wisdom of that approach even as tribalism often gets a bad rap in more “enlightened” circles. I will nuance what that means, and certainly appreciate that commitment to tribalism, like any commitment, however elevated or base it may be, can be taken to dangerous extremes.