This week the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold the rights of a local town council in Greece, NY to open their meetings with a prayer, saying it did not violate the constitutional prohibition against government establishment of religion. According to Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, President of Clal and co-Founder and Executive Editor of TheWisdomDaily.com, "the thing that has to accompany public prayer is public space, and carving out space for all those people who pray differently than we do or who may choose to not pray at all."
"Here we go again. On Monday, a narrowly divided Supreme Court upheld that decidedly Christian prayers are allowed at the start of local council meetings, declaring them in line with long national traditions. The court said in a 5-4 decision that the content of the prayers is not significant as long as they do not denigrate non-Christians or try to win converts. Interestingly, the Obama administration backed the winning side, the town of Greece, N.Y., outside of Rochester. Not surprisingly our culture warriors lined up...."
"The big question: How can those of us who care deeply about the current and future state of the Jewish people step up and make it more relevant and attractive? Not just doing better marketing (though that helps), but giving the product itself an upgrade and bringing Judaism into the 21st Century?...What I'm saying is, in the words of my teacher Rabbi Irwin Kula, our people are blenders and mixers and benders and switchers.
"When we open our computers, it's our doors we shut," is the central message in "Look Up," a viral video eschewing the use of social media, computers and phones when living and experiencing life. I've watched it and appreciate what it speaks to, but I cannot help noticing the profound irony that without the social media the author bemoans, this message doesn't get shared. In fact, when this video is shared across social media - and it's been seen by over 20 million people - it's typically under the headline that "it must be seen by everybody"! Am I the only one to find that both funny and a bit sad?..."
TEDxFultonStreet will host its inaugural event, titled "Chrysalis: A Transformation," at Pace University's Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts. Rabbi Brad Hirschfield was named one of the speakers. Chrysalis will bring together a mix of entrepreneurs, technologists, artists, architects, thinkers, dreamers, scientists, and doers: creative individuals that seek inspiration from an immersive and cross-disciplinary experience.
"At a construction site at the Jerusalem bus station there is a multi-paneled chalkboard with space for people to fill in what they are grateful for...Every day and every moment matters, but for these seven weeks, between Passover and Shavuot we stop daily and take a moment to mark the passage of time. We heighten our awareness of the ancient journey that Israelites took from slavery to revelation. Like the passersby near the Jerusalem bus station, we are given an opportunity to consider the gifts that we have...."
The scheduled execution of Clayton Lockett by the State of Oklahoma went terribly wrong Tuesday night when the cocktail of drugs administered did not provide the swift, antiseptic death promised by "lethal injection." Instead, Lockett died of a heart attack following a gruesome reaction to the drugs. "No matter how clean and tidy we try to make the death penalty, the bottom line is we are killing people," says Rabbi Brad Hirschfield.
"Whatever political views we have on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is pretty clear that conventional diplomacy has resulted in all process and little peace. And whatever the desire for peace on either side, for a variety of ideological, political, cultural, historical, and theological reasons, the psychic reward and security that comes from maintaining and "managing" the conflict is for just about everyone greater than the imagined rewards for peace.
"Working with remarkable speed and efficiency, but perhaps with more limited wisdom, the NBA is fining Donald Sterling $2.5 million, barring him from further contact with his team, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that he would "do everything in (his) power" to force Sterling to sell the Clippers. Really? Don't get me wrong, Sterling said some pretty gross and hurtful things, and I believe in consequences. I am just not so sure about these..."
"When you picture a racist, what images spring to mind? I ask, because in a single week, my own answer to that question has come to include to images of otherwise seemingly innocent types, and in that shift, lay important cautions regarding identifying and combating racism...You don’t have to fit someone’s stereotype of what a racist is, to be racist...."