Personal Growth

Clal makes the gifts of Jewish tradition accessible tools for spiritual growth and development.

The Wisdom Daily: Leonard Cohen: Popular Problems October 14, 2014

"My Oh My, sings the prophet/poet Leonard Cohen on his just released new album, Popular Problems. Simply put: this is a majestic, mysterious, magical, meaning-saturated masterpiece that I have listened to every day since I bought it. What are the Popular Problems Cohen alludes to?

My Yom Kippur Sermon: My Statement of Values – Signing Myself Into the Book of Life October 14, 2014

"Last night, I spoke about the importance of symbolically signing the Book of Life and leaving a permanent mark on this world. I urged us all to actually sign our own Book of Life that is in the hallway – and I invite those who haven’t yet done so, to please add your signature!

Tzemah Yoreh: Genesis: Israel's Origins October 13, 2014

In this book, Clal Resident Tzemah Yoreh, Ph.D. discusses the issue that in the earliest version of Genesis there is no creation story or flood. Abraham appears out of nowhere in Canaan. Isaac is killed for his father’s sins and Jacob and his seven sons are the founders of Israel. The brothers don’t sell Joseph down to Egypt and Judah doesn’t exist. Genesis: Israel’s Origins traces the slow development of this uniquely divergent account into the canonical text of the Book of Genesis.

Is Suicide Wrong? Always? October 9, 2014

This week, 29-year-old Brittany Maynard announced that she will be ending her life on November 1. Maynard has an aggressive form of brain cancer and has received a terminal diagnosis. Rather than putting her family and herself through the ordeal of a painful and drawn-out death, she has chosen physician assisted suicide, which is legal in Oregon. “Sometimes, like in the case of Brittany Maynard, it may be that choosing to end one’s life is actually in its own way an affirmation of life itself,”

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Putting God On The Geirut List October 7, 2014

"I recently had the privilege of serving on a Beit Din (Rabbinic Court) for an individual who was converting to Judaism. It was, as I have found all prior instances, a powerful and deeply moving experience. Listening to this individual explain his Jewish journey and the reasons he wanted to convert nearly moved me to tears...But there was one aspect of my conversation with the individual that troubled me.

The Wisdom Daily: Finding Your Path to Spirituality October 7, 2014

"When you think about what it means to be spiritual, find spirituality, or anything remotely approximating those experiences, what do you think of? Do you find your attention turning to experiences and images of relative solitude? Of solitary walks on the beach or perhaps, lonely mountain peaks? That is certainly one spiritual type. But not the only one...."

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Five reasons why we can all appreciate Yom Kippur --The Jewish Day of Atonement October 6, 2014

"You don't have to be Jewish to find meaning, especially this year, in Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, which begins Friday at Sundown. You simply need to appreciate that we live in challenging times and that there is real wisdom to be found in the Judeo-Christian tradition — wisdom that can help guide us through such times. Here's how:

The Wisdom Daily: Yom Kippur: The Truth About One’s Truths October 6, 2014

"Yom Kippur is the most sacred day in the Jewish calendar. Simply put it is a day-long practice in Reality Therapy. For 25 hours or so the practice is neither to eat nor drink nor make love nor enjoy the comforts and conveniences of life - be it a shower or a smart phone - but to reflect and contemplate our mortality, to feel deeply there is no guarantee that we (or anyone in our life) will even be here tomorrow, to be on our deathbed but be fully conscious.

The Wisdom Daily: We Are More Than the Sum of Our Stories October 2, 2014

"TWD contributor, Amy Shouse wrote a recent post about how we rush to judgment and that "until we know a person's whole story and take a moment to think what it might be like to 'climb into their skin,' we'll miss out on discovering the empathy we have within ourselves..." She was right on. This insight is taken radically and unnervingly further on Yom Kippur, the most sacred day in the Jewish calendar, which begins tomorrow evening...."

The Wisdom Daily: How Elastic is Your Narrative? A TEDxFultonStreet Talk October 2, 2014

"Chrysalis — a hard shell surrounding a young moth in the process of maturation. From the greek, chrysos, meaning gold. Chrysalis is also the name of TEDxFultonStreet’s 2014 conference, and like the name, included people with stories and ideas of how, after a bit of maturation/protection, and the willingness to break out of the shells which often surround us/our hearts/our minds, we can discover golden opportunities...."

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