"For people who care deeply about the State of Israel, the future of the Jewish people or about the prospects for peace in the world, the twentieth anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin provided much to think about.
After so many months of discord in the rabbinic community nationally on the issue of Iran, the National Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federation of North America (" JFNA") invited Clal’s Rabbi Brad Hirschfield to help hone a perspective and language that allows people both the integrity of their particular policy stance, and the ability to use Jewish tools to forge a more productive conversation across those various positions. The session is scheduled for Sunday, November 8, 2015 from 6:30-8:00 pm.
This week, the people of Houston, TX voted to repeal anti-bias legislation after a campaign that played on fears about transgender individuals and bathrooms. According to Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, President of Clal and co-founder and executive editor of TheWisdomDaily.com, "the very people who wanted this legislation passed, by not taking seriously the fears and anxieties of their opponents, let an opportunity which, while it wouldn't have been a perfect solution, would have left Houston a safer place for more of its citizens today."
From Odyssey Networks’ FAITH ON THE RECORD
"What's your view on heaven and hell? Heaven and hell are accountability technologies designed to incentivize human beings to do the right thing. As with all technologies, the question is whether they are getting the job done and whether there are new technologies that can be more effective in helping us be better people. I know people who believe in the most literal version of heaven and hell, but it clearly has no affect on their moral choices in this life.
"It is like clockwork. You can expect someone to raise the following argument every single time anything new is being discussed in the context of traditional Jewish life: But what about Jewish values? Isn’t this [insert new thing] really just a manifestation of [insert external value]? We need to be true to our eternal, timeless and unchanging Jewish values!..."
"...In a potentially bold stroke, Rabbis Irwin Kula and Brad Hirschfield of Clal – the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, think they have a way to unite academia and the wider Jewish community. The goal: to bring the ideas uncovered by those postdoc fellows to Jews in the pews, and those beyond the synagogue. And in that way to ‘reimagine Judaism on the ground,’ according to Rabbi Kula.
"Each year, a group of the world’s leading Judaic studies scholars gather at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania to study a topic that has the potential to shape not only their chosen field, but also contemporary Jewish culture.
"...The goal of the one-week writing intensive program was to teach dozens of rabbis, priests, ministers and other clergy members to be more expressive and authentic while writing skillfully in media as diverse as op-eds, blogs, personal essays and social media. When the director of the Kenyon Institute was looking for a religious leader who could teach clergy to be better writers when it comes to social media and blogs, Clal’s Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, an adviser to the institute, recommended me for that role.
"...it comes down to the fact that most people want tidy answers to even the most complex and disturbing questions. In fact, for many folks, that is when they want those answers most and conspiracy theories answer that need. In that regard, we are all in this together -- whether we like conspiracy theories or not, most of us want answers to life's questions...."
"...the Jewish community (or more accurately, our multiple Jewish communities since we are not monolithic) must hold candid conversations about whether we want to prioritize a Judaism where Jews identify culturally or morally but not necessarily religiously. The Pew Study makes clear that this is the reality for the vast majority of non-Orthodox Jews in America. But this is NOT a new conversation, despite what demographers might claim.