"If you were asked who you love, what would your intuitive answer be? Your life partner? Your kids? Perhaps your parents? Would you even think to immediately include yourself on the list? Your answer can enhance or diminish your ability to give and receive the love you most want. Giving and getting love are about the most fundamental human needs there are. Can you fully imagine the pain of never having been loved or of loving another? I hope not! I hope instead, that we all find ways to deepen and widen our ability to love and to be loved. It turns out that the key to that capacity probably begins closer to home than we often realize...."
The U.S. Army announced this week that active duty personnel will now have the option of claiming "humanist" as a religious preference. According to the American Humanist Society, humanism is a philosophy that "without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead meaningful, ethical lives capable of adding to the greater good of humanity." Some people of faith may take issue with the decision, but Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, President of Clal and co-Founder and Executive Editor of TheWisdomDaily.com sees this as a victory for people of all faiths. "When it comes to matters of the spirit, there are as many ways to elevate our souls, enrich our lives and contribute to the world as there are people who may want to."
"If imagination be the food of disruption, is the Bard also to be considered worthy of a TriBeCa Disruptive Innovation Award? My fellow fellows - Craig Hatkoff, Rabbi Irwin Kula and Jason Silva - To be or not to be?...Rabbi Irwin Kula: The earliest surviving mention of William Shakespeare's work was a classic critique of the sorts disruptive innovators regularly hear...The attack on Shakespeare was essentially a challenge of credentials and expertise: who gets to be the custodian of knowledge.
"Did you see the DreamWorks film, Prince of Egypt? In it there's a scene when the Israelites are leaving Egypt, set to the beautiful song When You Believe. This morning, in every synagogue in the world, the Exodus story is being chanted as a central practice of the Passover holiday inviting people to experience the "miracle of being redeemed" - of moving from slavery to freedom...."
"If there is one thing religion has historically been good at and its clergy and institutions used for it is death management. Well, these days with "None" the fastest growing religious identification - more than 20% of all Americans and more than 30% of those under 32 years of age so identified - it shouldn't be surprising that close to 30% of all funerals in America happen without any clergy. Obviously, people are having funerals and mourning for loved ones so what are they doing? Rather than engage religious authorities and institutions - the "cathedrals" - people are getting the resources they need to bury, mourn, grieve, and find meaning and comfort - from the "bazaar"..."
"When does Passover 2014 begin and how long does it last? Passover 2014 begins at sundown on Monday, April 14th. That is the date, this year, which corresponds to the 15th of Nissan, the day according to the Bible, on which the first Passover occurred and on which all subsequent Passovers always begin. ..."
By Rabbi Brad Hirschfield from the Fox News 4/14/14
"I’ve always been troubled by the “four children” in the Haggadah. Passover is supposed to teach our children about how we can create a world filled with more justice, kindness and compassion, so where I struggle is with the idea of calling a child inherently “wise, wicked, simply or unable to ask.” I had always been taught that to raise moral children, we should praise behavior (“that was very kind of you to share your toys!”) and not identity (“you’re such a nice person!”)..."
"Are we fast-becoming a culture of victims, endlessly seeking new grievances and hurts in order to define ourselves? Or, are we simply becoming increasingly and appropriately sensitive to the impact of our words upon others? A key to unlocking that puzzle may be found in conversations popping up all over the place about something called Microaggression. Don't know that is? Neither did I until a very short while ago, so don't worry. Microaggression is defined by Tanzina Vega, race and ethnicity reporter for the New York Times, as a catch-all for "the subtle ways that racial, ethnic, gender, and other stereotypes can play out painfully in an increasingly diverse culture", with the emphasis on subtle, and it's fast-becoming the 'next new thing' in conversations about social justice, good manners, and creating a more decent society. And who doesn't want those? The challenge is how we get there...."
The American Bible Society and Barna Group just released their joint annual study of Americans' behaviors and attitudes towards the Bible. In it, they found that the number of skeptics, those "who believe the Bible is 'just another book of teaching written by men that contain stories and advice'" has nearly doubled in three years. Now 19% of those questioned put themselves in that category, which is equal to the number who define themselves as "Bible-engaged". But this is a flawed comparison, says Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, President of Clal and co-Founder and Executive Editor of TheWisdomDaily.com. Skepticism and engagement coexist, which is clearly seen at seders around the world as families and friends gather for the Passover celebration – not only are questions central to the core of the Passover celebration, but "even heresy is accepted at the table because even that is a form of engagement."
The movie Noah, starring Russell Crowe, continues to attract money (it's earned over $178 million in its first two weeks of release) and controversy. Everyone seems to be talking about it, from the Vatican to Jon Stewart, and it's been banned in some countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia.But according to Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, President of CLAL and co-Founder and Executive Editor of TheWisdomDaily.com, both the critics and the critics' critics are looking to "see what they already believe is what they see when they look at the Bible", and maybe they should be looking for something else.