"I received a hate call two weeks ago.
It came right after I had had the honor of offering an invocation at our local Memorial Day celebration. The gist of my prayer was people died for freedom, and as the living we honor the dead by not taking freedom away from others. And then I said it...‘regardless of religion, color, sexual orientation or financial standing’ I live in the South, and I knew saying ‘sexual orientation’ meant being brave. The next day, I got the call...."
"...Ask most Jewish people to identify which holiday is the one with matzah and they'll all say ‘Passover.’ Ask them which is the one when we build temporary huts in the backyard to eat in for a week and they will correctly identify ‘Sukkot.’ Ask them which is the holiday when we celebrate receiving the Torah and some might respond ‘Simchat Torah,’ the second day of Shmini Atzeret when we return to the beginning of the weekly Torah readings again (in Israel, Simchat Torah is Shmini Atzeret).
As the country reels from the shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida over the weekend that left 49 innocent people dead, Rabbi Brad Hirschfield asks that we take the time to let our hearts break in an effort to reflect and get out of our "ideological cul-de-sacs" in order to see a way forward. View Rabbi Hirschfield's discussion below.
From Odyssey Networks’ FAITH ON THE RECORD
"This past Sunday, John Oliver made television history by giving away nearly $15 million. Well, sort of. In his piece about how scarily easy it is to buy debt, he formed the company “Central Asset Recovery Professionals” (or CARP, after the bottom-feeding fish), and then spent $60,000 to buy the medical debt of 9,000 Texans, totaling nearly $15 million.
"I'll never forget that time I taught the first line of this week's Torah portion (B'midbar). One English translation begins, ‘God spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai’ (Numbers 1:1), from which Jewish tradition spins countless interpretations.
Reading this verse, the student asked me, ‘Why did God speak to Moses in China?...’"
"Like a great many others have over these past few days, I have read the incredibly powerful letter written by the young woman who was raped by Brock Turner. In past weeks it has felt like we have been riding several tides of outrage...outrage expressed in politics, presidential campaigns, and by the masses who are drawn more to the outrage than to thoughtful ideas that could address the concerns that drive the outrage...."
"For me, eating other people is a no-no; however, were I to find myself on a deserted island, with a recently deceased companion as the only available food source, I might be inclined to have a little nibble. And I am not alone; there are numerous cases where people, finding themselves in a similar situation, have opted for eating their companions rather than starve to death...."
"...50 of us move in unison, matching the instructor's movements. There is no competition or judgment. Every experienced rider was once new; every teacher was once a rider. The instructor guides us with a myriad of words–choreography, body positioning guidance, personal encouragement, and a motivational frame that guides from the first to last song. In the best classes, it feels like communal prayer.
Listen to Clal Founder and President Emeritus, Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, discuss his new book, "Sage Advice: Pirkei Avot" at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education. Rabbi Greenberg's book is about the accomplishments of the sages. It places before the reader the values and spirit of rabbinic Judaism - in one of the finest distillations of its collective wisdom.
To Listen to Yitz's talk
"Ok people have you been watching ‘Full Frontal with Samantha Bee’? For heaven's sakes, why not?!? During this election season, I have heard many people opine about missing Jon Stewart and his brand of political satire. Samantha Bee has picked up the mantle and then some...."