Clal makes the gifts of Jewish tradition accessible tools for spiritual growth and development.
Rabbi Kula lays out the framework coined by Clayton Christensen as "jobs to be done," and he applies that framework to contemporary Judaism. He also looks at the roles of individuals and communities, critiquing the pervasive idea of Judaism encapsulated by the phrase "the Jewish community." He explains why an emphasis on belonging makes it difficult for Judaism to better fulfill a variety of other important "jobs to be done."
"Old habits die hard. Especially at times of illness and death, naturally we incline to practices rooted deep in memory, how and when we were raised, sometimes grounded in ancient tradition that arose in cultures so different that our ancestors could hardly imagine how we’d live today. Most everyone reading this blog post grew up before blog posts (and before an Internet filled with them).
"Caught in the spinning wheels of political change, I believe it is time for us all to take some inventory on our spiritual state. As a Catholic, I am often dismayed by some groups who exhibit an unchristian attitude towards others while simultaneously claiming to fight to preserve Christianity in a way that can be hateful and harmful to minority groups.
"A few years ago, in the midst of one of what I have come to call my 'hamster wheel' phases, the universe intervened. My computer crashed beyond repair, swallowing masses of work, irretrievably. A work situation went sour, closing off an avenue of professional satisfaction. Then I broke my leg while bicycling slowly through my neighborhood. What followed was surgery, hospitalization, new chunks of metal holding bits of my broken bones together and long, painful physical therapy.
"There is a story in Jewish tradition about a man who insults another man without realizing that the man is a prominent rabbi. When he does realize it, he is horrified and tries to apologize. He asks what he can do to make up for it. The rabbi tells him to take a feather pillow to the top of a hill, tear it open and let the feathers blow away.
"I went to the local town hall meeting with our State Representative, Buddy Carter. The small theater at the local college overflowed with people but not by a lot. Maybe 30 people were standing while another 150 were seated. It was 10 a.m. on a Thursday morning when most people in my largely working-class city are out working. Someone asked if Mr. Carter would vote to defund Planned Parenthood. He sidestepped the question, and the crowd began chanting — yes or no? Yes or no? He paused, waited for the din to subside.
"...what binds the elite – whether an elite of money or of knowledge – is the obligation to temper it with humility and care for others.
The Photograph In My Hand
My mother, four years old, blond curls,
wearing a smocked dress, in a field of goldenrod,
her doll on her lap and her dog at her side.
Two years later, the girl in the photograph
would be backed up against a wall at school,
by kids in her class for refusing to say “Heil Hitler,”
and they would throw rocks, beat her up, call her Jude,
her dress would be torn, and her parents
would have to find a way to get her out of Germany....
"If the President chooses to speak out on this issue, and it’s debatable, in my view, whether or not he should, he better have something substantive to say. So please, Mr. President, what have you got for us? If you want such attacks to stop, tell us what role you have, or even could have, in stopping them.
"This week’s Torah portion, Mishpatim (Judgments), tells of the slave who does not want to go free saying, 'I love my master.' We read of the judgment against him – that his ear be set against the doorpost and mutilated by piercing with an awl.