"I plead for Jewish community to be a place where we can lovingly and respectfully engage with the fullness of Israel. Like my country of origin—the UK—or my country of residence—the USA—there are things that make me feel extraordinarily proud, and there are things that sometimes happen that cause me to feel embarrassment or disappointment. Israel has to be experienced—it is an amazing place. The people are as diverse in background and opinion as any other place. There is so much to learn there.
"From ancient promises in the Bible to contemporary prognostications about success in business, the claim is often made that we will do well by doing good. But is it true? Does doing what we think of as the right or good thing really create material success, and should that even matter? I am not so sure that it's true, and yeah, I think it matters..."
"Unless the Jewish community makes room for loving disagreement with Israel, we will all pay a heavy price...."
Rabbi Knopf identifies himself as: the Assistant Rabbi of Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley, Pennsylvania, and an alumnus of Clal’s Rabbis Without Borders fellowship.
You are invited to a special program on Thursday, May 29 at 7 pm at Central Synagogue (652 Lexington Ave.): "Can Science and Religion Co-Exist?" Rabbi Geoff Mitelman will be moderating a discussion among Rabbi Bradley Hirschfield, President of Clal - The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership; Professor Michael Zimmerman, Professor of Biology at The Evergreen State College and Founder of The Clergy Letter Project and Evolution Weekend; Professor Hank Davis, Professor of Evolut
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...."