"I just returned from a week in Israel. And yeah, that means that I was there during the war with Hamas. In fact, the morning that we landed was the day that Hamas leadership pledged to resume rocket attacks on Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport. I wasn't traveling alone either. I was traveling with two of my daughters, one aged 13 and the other 18, who I was "dropping off" for a year of study at a Jerusalem seminary.So, am I some kind of crazy person who blithely wanders into war zones?
"In the summer of 1982 I went looking for an apartment in St. Louis, Missouri, where I lived and served as a rabbi from then until late 1987. I made life-long friends and there were many nice things about St. Louis - the Arch, the St. Louis Cardinals, Washington University, the Symphony to name a few - but race was not one of them. My introduction to the problem of race came on my very first day in St. Louis.
"I was a college student doing about 78 mph on my way from Pittsburgh to New York City to visit my boyfriend. Suddenly flashing lights appeared behind me, my stomach flipped over, and I was busted. The officer sauntered up to my window. He asked questions that I felt were intrusive, like where was I going, where was I coming from, who was I going to see. He made a comment about my “pretty face” being smashed if I crashed at that speed. I wanted him to just give me a ticket and go away. Finally he did...."
In tandem with the rise of anti-Muslim bigotry, the last few weeks have seen a shocking number of anti-Semitic expressions both in America and around the world. Welton was joined by Rabbi Brad Hirschfeld of Clal, The National Jewish Center of Learning and Leadership, who help us put this rise in anti-Semitism in context, and discuss ways that faith leaders – and the rest of us – can help counter it, and bigotry against all religious minorities.
"Most TWD readers probably don’t follow the Wu-Tang Clan – perhaps the number one greatest hip hop group of all time. Rolling Stone called the Wu-Tang Clan “the best rap group ever” and there is probably no group that has introduced and launched the careers of more artists. Two weeks ago the entire clan of nine appeared on the Jon Stewart Show – the first time they were together in close to a decade – to debut a brand new song from their 20th anniversary album, A Better Tomorrow..."
From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: Unrest continues to simmer in Ferguson, Missouri since the August 9th shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown. We privilege rage over sadness to all of our peril. And we confuse imposing order with building peace between members of different communities. Watch more of Brad Hirschfield's commentary below:
"Is a new lexicon in disruption emerging? Adi Ignatius, editor-in-chief of the Harvard Business Review, recently interviewed Professor Clayton Christensen on the heels of Professor Jill Lepore’s now-famous rant about disruptive innovation in The New Yorker. The ensuing controversy put Christensen and his theory at the center of the storm. But his comments in the interview held some interesting clues as to how he sees the future of disruptive innovation.
"The whole question of continuity — be it in the face of this year's Pew study, or any other data set over which the Jewish community's Cassandra class wring their hands—is an overblown deflection. People worry about the future of their community and its traditions most when they are least certain about the real value of either in the present. Or put another way, when people are busy in the present doing what they love, or otherwise feel compelled to do, they tend to worry less about its future.
"My teacher, colleague, and friend - Leonard "Leibel" Fein - died this past Thursday at the age of 80. Leibel reflected on every central theme, new idea, debate, fault line, and cultural and political innovation that Jews and Americans have argued about in the past half-century.
From Odyssey Networks' Faith on the Record series: The death by suicide of Robin Williams earlier this week shocked his fans around the world. It also focused attention on suicide and the discomfort we all feel about the disease that leads to it. We're not ashamed of having cancer, we're not ashamed of having ALS or any other devastating disease. But there's a lot of shame associated with emotional illness. Watch more of Brad Hirschfield's commentary below: