"I am going to Minsk. It is a strange choice indeed. All I keep thinking in my head is, “didn’t our people work hard to get out of there?” More than that, my great grandmother was taken there against her will. Brought by train to a forest and along with thousands of other cultured, educated, Viennese Jews she was shot. So why the heck would I choose to go there voluntarily?..."
"We all want to flourish, but one of the things that make it so difficult these days is the 24/7 cycle of negative news. Studies show that bad news outweighs good news by as much as 17 negative news reports for every one good news report! Why is this? Evolutionary psychologists and neuroscientists suggest we seek out news of dramatic, negative events because our brains evolved in a hunter-gatherer society where if we missed good news it was one thing, but if we missed bad news we were dead and so we care more about the threat of bad things than we do about the prospect of good things. The media responds to this and gives us what we "naturally" are attuned to. But, contrary to the 24/7 news barrage, the fact is far fewer negative, life threatening events happen in our daily life than positive, uplifting things...."
How are our identities formed and what does that mean for Jewish identities?
From Eli Talks and Sinai and Synapses.
Rabbi Mitelman is founder and director of Sinai & Synapses, incubated at Clal, and is a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow.
"How did you pick your current career, or could it better be said that your career picked you? When did you know what you "wanted to be when you grew up"? Think back to eighth grade... Imagine you then picking the career you have now. Sound crazy? Well, that is pretty much what the State of Texas is asking 400,000 graduating eighth graders to do just about now. What are they thinking?..."
"How the United States responds to the kidnapped Nigerian girls and the epidemic of rape on the college campus will define for a generation just how equal women really are...It turns out, left to their own devices, college kids have enabled a deep rape culture. 1 in 5 women are victims of sexual assault in college. Most students, men and women, are guilty of bystander apathy, or lack of knowing how to intervene rather than assault. Meanwhile, there is small group of repeat offenders whose behavior goes unchecked.
"What is your attitude toward mistakes? Well, this week researchers at IBM announced that they found two new kinds of industrial polymers that are strong, lightweight and crack-resistant and that could be utilized in several industries ranging from aerospace to microelectronics. The discovery could enable development of plastics that are easily recyclable (currently plastics are notoriously difficult to recycle), creating far less plastic waste. Scientists had long assumed that all major types of plastics had already been discovered..."
"How Do You Celebrate B’nai Mitzvah Without Dad?...Thousands of children lost their parents in the attacks; each family and faith group marks the event in its own way. On May 21, the National September 11 Museum on the World Trade Center site will open to the public.
This week, attorneys in Broward County, Florida argued over the right of Park Lakes Elementary School student Giovanni Rubeo to read the Bible during a free reading period. It turns out the Bible is on the approved list of books, though the school claimed it was not. The bottom line is cultivating love of reading should trump whatever book you may happen to be reading.
Twice a year Clal sponsors a Rabbis Without Borders Rabbinical Student Retreat to allow students to be exposed to some of the most innovative thinking in the Jewish world that has a direct impact on the way these students might shape their rabbinate. Twelve different seminaries from across the denominational spectrum co-sponsor these retreats. The program is run by Clal Senior Fellow, Rabbi Sid Schwarz.
"I wrote about Palestinian professor Mohammed Dajani's visit to Auschwitz with 27 of his students a few weeks ago. On April 28, Holocaust Memorial Day, Dajani spoke on Breaking Holocaust Taboos in Palestinian Society with some 100 students and faculty in the audience at Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School. In this speech he described how his feelings and ideas evolved from the day a member of his family received treatment for a medical condition at Hadassah Hospital - simply as a patient and human being...."