"Despite its air of frivolity, or perhaps because of it, the upcoming Jewish holiday of Purim offers the opportunity to explore the challenges we face when it comes to identity inclusion and race. Both the story of Purim and the rituals of the holiday speak directly to a contemporary sensibility and provide us with some important lessons for living in a diverse multicultural world..."
"A new blood test can predict with 90% accuracy whether or not a person will develop Alzheimer's disease in the next three years. Details can be found in the just published edition of Nature Medicine, where this test is being hailed as "a real step forward". But is it? Do we really want to know that we will suffer from this terrible illness years before we actually become noticeably symptomatic, or is this a terrible case of TMI - too much information?..."
"We all need time to just take a deep breath, relax and enjoy life, reflect, and re-energize. Finding this place of renewal and re-creation, remembering the non-work parts of who we are, connecting more deeply to people we love and to the beauty of the world actually takes as much intention, creativity, and practice as working productively. I was reminded of this last week on the National Day of Unplugging - in our hectic and super paced lives, when for the first time in human history we can be plugged in 24/7, it is not surprising that the practice of "Being" or "Sabbathing" (a day of rest) is being recovered...."
When contemplating end of life care, it can make a huge difference to have an open and comprehensive dialogue that engages the patient, families, physicians, social workers and spiritual advisers. Rabbi Irwin Kula will speak on having those difficult conversations on Wednesday, March 12 at 6:15 pm at Central Synagogue (Community House)in New York City. Central Synagogue presents the event which is a collaboration with MJHS Hospice and Palliative Care underwritten by UJA Federation of NY.
"The yearning for intimacy, real intimacy, be it emotional, intellectual, spiritual or physical, is one of the most profound, and yet tragically often unrealized, yearnings that humans experience. The desire to truly know, and to be known, by another is a primal intuition which is arguably foundational to who we are as human beings. So what value could there be in setting limits on such pursuits?..."
"I’ll let you in on a few of the secrets. Each week, I put out a call on Facebook for those in need of blessings. I time these calls to connect with ritual making bread for Shabbat. It is customary to set aside a portion of dough, as a token of recognition of God’s generosity, when making a large amount of bread. Fulfilling of the obligation provides a unique opportunity for prayers of healing and divine intersession.
"Last night, I had the honor to speak with Clal’s West Coast Rabbis Without Borders Student Fellowship on the topic of social media, beginning with a text study. While there have been several cohorts of Rabbis Without Borders, as well as a student fellowship on the east coast for the program, this year is the first for the west coast student fellowship and I was glad I could participate in leading a session with them...." For More...
"Do you enjoy surfing the Internet, learning a little about a lot of things, having many different experiences or do you like diving deeply into one thing, getting excited about mastering one area, developing a specific expertise? Are you a depth first or breadth first person, a generalist or a specialist? Are you a tourist, a pilgrim or a mixture of both?..."
This week, a New Jersey judge decided that 18-year-old high school student Rachel Canning is not entitled to ongoing financial support to cover her living expenses and private high school and upcoming college costs. Canning sued for support, claiming that her parents kicked her out of the house. The parents countered that she left on her own after being given an ultimatum - break up with your boyfriend or leave. "Honor thy father and mother" stands up against the notion of a parent's unconditional love for their child. Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, President of CLAL and co-Founder and Executive Editor of TheWisdomDaily.com, calls for better communication and understanding, "Parental love should be unconditional, but the lives people share are not unconditional."
"...People will not remain Jewish just because their parents were Jewish. We have to understand how Judaism works in people’s lives, and then articulate clearly, proudly, how it can work in everyone’s life. The time has come to ask different questions in these surveys. The language and research methods used in positive psychology are a good starting point for developing new questionnaires...."