Personal Growth

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

The Wisdom Daily: Mourning Online – What Does This Mean for Traditional Religion? April 18, 2014

"If there is one thing religion has historically been good at and its clergy and institutions used for it is death management. Well, these days with "None" the fastest growing religious identification - more than 20% of all Americans and more than 30% of those under 32 years of age so identified - it shouldn't be surprising that close to 30% of all funerals in America happen without any clergy. Obviously, people are having funerals and mourning for loved ones so what are they doing? Rather than engage religious authorities and institutions - the "cathedrals" - people are getting the resources they need to bury, mourn, grieve, and find meaning and comfort - from the "bazaar"..."

Fourteen things to know for Passover 2014 April 18, 2014

"When does Passover 2014 begin and how long does it last? Passover 2014 begins at sundown on Monday, April 14th. That is the date, this year, which corresponds to the 15th of Nissan, the day according to the Bible, on which the first Passover occurred and on which all subsequent Passovers always begin. ..."

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By Rabbi Brad Hirschfield from the Fox News 4/14/14

The Wisdom Daily: What is Microaggression and Why Does It Matter? April 17, 2014

"Are we fast-becoming a culture of victims, endlessly seeking new grievances and hurts in order to define ourselves? Or, are we simply becoming increasingly and appropriately sensitive to the impact of our words upon others? A key to unlocking that puzzle may be found in conversations popping up all over the place about something called Microaggression. Don't know that is? Neither did I until a very short while ago, so don't worry. Microaggression is defined by Tanzina Vega, race and ethnicity reporter for the New York Times, as a catch-all for "the subtle ways that racial, ethnic, gender, and other stereotypes can play out painfully in an increasingly diverse culture", with the emphasis on subtle, and it's fast-becoming the 'next new thing' in conversations about social justice, good manners, and creating a more decent society. And who doesn't want those? The challenge is how we get there...."

Brad Hirchfield on Noah Brings in the Box Office and the Controversy April 11, 2014

The movie Noah, starring Russell Crowe, continues to attract money (it's earned over $178 million in its first two weeks of release) and controversy. Everyone seems to be talking about it, from the Vatican to Jon Stewart, and it's been banned in some countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia.But according to Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, President of CLAL and co-Founder and Executive Editor of TheWisdomDaily.com, both the critics and the critics' critics are looking to "see what they already believe is what they see when they look at the Bible", and maybe they should be looking for something else.

Passover and Jewish personhood April 11, 2014

"...Passover, like most Jewish Americans’ identities as revealed in the Pew study, celebrates the personal and even the idiosyncratic. While Passover recognizes the importance of peoplehood, it focuses at least as heavily on the celebration of personhood—of the dignity of each individual and his/her right to be free...."

The Wisdom Daily: In Defense of Scapegoating – How to Send Off Your Mistakes April 10, 2014

"What kind of person defends scapegoating? Before you call me crazy, ask yourself the following: how do you rid yourself of past bad acts, mistakes you wish you never made, and feelings of inadequacy? We all have "stuff" we want to get rid of, and it turns out that old fashioned scapegoating might be one appropriate tool for doing so..."

A rabbi’s ‘bold experiment’ in outreach April 9, 2014

"On a recent Tuesday afternoon, Rabbi Amy Joy Small sat at Rockin’ Joe’s Cafe in Millburn, nursing a cup of tea and uncertain expectations. On her new website and Twitter feed, she invited anyone who cared to to “share your stories, your questions, and your challenges. I’ll share stories and Jewish wisdom along the way.'..."

The Wisdom Daily: Who is Crazier – Noah or God? April 9, 2014

" I saw the blockbuster film Noah this past Sunday. Despite the deluge (sorry) of commentary about the film - inevitable for a biblical film in culture war times - I can't resist offering my take. Most of what has been written about Noah has centered on the film's fidelity to the original story, which really means fidelity to the way a particular critic heard the Noah story when he was a child, or the way his particular creedal community understands the story. Watch this segment from The Daily Show as proof..."

New Haggadahs Offer Unique Passover Experience For Every Seder Table April 8, 2014

"Passover is just around the corner and with it comes the ancient tradition of the seder and accompanying Haggadah. The Haggadah guides the ritual meal and commemorates the Jewish exodus from slavery in Egypt. On each of the first two nights of Passover, people gather around the seder table for the 15-step meal and the recitation of the Haggadah..."

Remember for Life Published in Paperback by University of Nebraska Press April 7, 2014

Remember for Life by Rabbi Brad Hirschfield is a compendium of stories of hope from the Holocaust. Now in its second printing and in paperback, we are pleased to let you know that it is available through University of Nebraska Press.
Memory is about choice. We can choose to remember the past in ways that provoke pain and stir our anger, or we can remember in ways that help us create the kind of world in which we most want to live.

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