“‘We don’t have a Jewish identity problem,’ says Kula. ‘The problem is that the majority of Jews who are proud of their identities and feel connected to their religion are not using the products, services and delivery systems of the organized Jewish community.’ Kula, together with co-president Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, are recapturing the Clal mission of its founders Rabbi Irving ‘Yitz’ Greenberg and Elie Wiesel.
"As the calendar flips to December, nightfall comes ever earlier, and many of us don our winter coats for the first time, Jews throughout America once again will encounter a challenging cultural/religious question: how should we celebrate Hanukkah? Sure, there will be candle-lighting and latkes, but what else? Lavish presents? Contemporary, catchy songs? Vodka and latke parties? Or, to put it more succinctly, how much like Christmas should our Hanukkah celebration be?..."
"Do you find yourself longing for greater peace, and a bit more light, in what often feels like an increasingly dark and confusing time? Given the events of the passing weeks and months, that’s not surprising. In fact, how could it be otherwise? That is why the holiday of Chanukah has never been more important than it is this year...."
Maybe we should find moments to be grateful every day of the year and not focus all our thankfulness on one holiday, suggests Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, president of Clal and co-founder and executive editor of TheWisdomDaily.com.
From Odyssey Networks’ FAITH ON THE RECORD
"Do you want to feel like your life has meaning? Do you want to be connected to other individuals like yourself? Do you yearn for a connection to a higher power or divine source?
You are not alone.
In our hyper-focused individualized society we often forget that humans have been seeking out connections with the divine and with each other throughout the millenia. Though our struggles for meaning and connection seem unique, they are not. We are not alone in these struggles...."
As the world comes to grips with the horrific events that have unfolded in Paris and rhetoric around migrant crisis has escalated, some on the right and some on the left have drawn analogies to World War II and Jews fleeing from Nazi Germany. But the two situations are fundamentally different according to Rabbi Brad Hirschfield.
"We read in Pirke Avot, the Ethics of the Sages: ‘Who is happy?’ The answer: ‘The one who is satisfied with one’s lot.’ But what happens when one’s lot comes to be measured by a lot...of stuff?... "
By Rabbi Eliana Falk, a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow, from the Rabbis Without Borders Blog on My Jewish Learning.com
"...After the shocking crimes of terrorism committed in Paris last week, a leading U.S. presidential candidate recently suggested the reprehensible idea that all Muslims in America should wear I.D. bracelets. Of course, we should reject such a proposal. But on the other hand, is it wise to cite the mistakes America made with Jewish refugees fleeing Nazis as a basis for our present-day policy decisions?..."
On Wednesday, December 2, 2015, at 6pm, discuss religion as a technology of human flourishing with Rabbi Irwin Kula. Understand how disruptive technologies weaken existing business models of religion and empower people to design blends of wisdom and practice that are more accessible and good enough to do the job religion is supposed to get done: help us flourish. Sponsored by Brown University's Swearer Center's Social Innovation Initiative, Brown/RISD Hillel and the Brown University Office of the Chaplains.
"Rabbi Steven Bayar of Congregation B’nai Israel in Millburn is among the 10 religious leaders in the first cohort of a new program designed to disseminate “great ideas” throughout the Jewish world.
The University of Pennsylvania is partnering with Clal-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership in creating The LEAP (“leverage, expand, and popularize”) Fellowship, a year-long program aimed at “leveraging great ideas so that they reach and serve the widest possible audience...."