The taboo topic of death is explored by Journalist Perri Peltz in a compelling interview with Rabbi Irwin Kula and Dr. Dennis M. Popeo of NYU School of Medicine and Bellevue Hospital. We need to focus on the quality of life at the end. End of life conversations need to take place before they come up. The art of dying grows out of the art of living. Fear plays a huge and debilitating role at the end of life. We are fortunate in that our wisdom traditions give us important ways that help in this process.
"How many Americans knew the name of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl before last week? For that matter, how many of the members of our dysfunctional Congress, yet alone our polarizing pundits knew about this POW? Just about everything wrong in our culture's politics has shown itself in the aftermath of the exchange of five senior Taliban detainees at Guantanamo for Bergdahl.
This week The New York Times told a surprising story about the former Archbishop of New York, Cardinal John J. O'Connor – his mother was born Jewish. The story raises questions about religious identity, says Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, President of Clal and co-Founder and Executive Editor of TheWisdomDaily.com, and suggests a discussion of what "dual citizenship" in the realm of faith and spirituality might mean.
"Why is it often so hard to do the right thing? Why doesn’t everyone share our same beliefs? And why is it so hard to be happy? These are questions that are integral to the field of cognitive science—the study of how and why we think, feel and act the way we do. But what’s interesting is that so many of these questions have links to Jewish thought and practice.
"What we see in the mirror may be one of the most powerful forces in how we live our lives. That view shapes our aspirations and expectations - sometimes for good and sometimes not - but the power of self-image is pretty hard to over-estimate. That's what makes it especially important to address the fact that a negative view is terribly common...."
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"How do you close a synagogue? This is the question I have been confronting for the past few months as the shul I have served these past two years edged closer and closer to our final Shabbat this past weekend. I offer the following reflections of what I fear will be an increasingly frequent phenomenon in American Jewish life...."
"My cellphone sings me a gentle song at 4:30 in the morning and I roll out of bed. Ever since our son was born I have maintained that the 4am hour is the hardest time for me to be awake. When we used to have feedings at all hours, the 4am one was the one I dreaded. Earlier than that, and I could pretend that a night of sleep lay ahead; later than that, and I could tell myself that it was morning. But oh, I used to dread the hour between 4 and 5. Not today...."
"...When you see a scene - someone cutting you off on the road, someone who is argumentative, your child acting rudely, your colleague interrupting or ignoring you - before you react, try becoming a story teller who gives the benefit of the doubt. Imagine for a moment what might have caused the scene that can evoke some laughter and even some compassion.
his week the news was dominated by the decision of the Obama administration to orchestrate a prisoner swap with the Taliban, bringing home Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl who had been in captivity for five years in exchange for five detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay. This week also marks the 70 anniversary of D-Day, the invasion of Normandy that began to turn the tide of WWII.
"Oscar Wilde once said, "If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh or they will kill you." Eddie Izzard, the surreal, free-associative, British comic embodies this wisdom. I saw this self-described "action transvestite" at a wildly crazy, funny show at the Beacon Theatre in NYC the other night on his Force Majeure Tour - a title that derives from the French "Acts of God". Force Majeure deals with grand philosophical ideas but if it has a theme it's simple: There is no God!..."