Personal Growth

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

The Wisdom Daily: Bob Dylan Uncovers Sinatra February 3, 2015

"Bob Dylan's Shadows in the Night, his recently released album of ballads from the American Songbook, is remarkable, heartfelt, and vulnerable. All ten tracks have one thing in common: they were interpreted and made popular by Frank Sinatra. Yes, the enigmatic '60s counterculture icon, the raspy-voiced rebellious rocker, is rendering songs made famous by one of the smoothest nightclub crooners of all time. But I don't think Dylan is selling out.

The Wisdom Daily: Finding Home Away From Home January 29, 2015

"I am writing this post from Israel, having spent five days visiting our daughter (who is living here for the year), and I'm about to spend a week with a group of Protestant seminary students. But this post isn't really about who I'll be interacting with on my travels. It's about the feeling I have in Israel - and one I hope we all have at special destinations which bring about the sensation of being at home, even when you're far from your regular home base.

Same Sex Wedding Cakes and Hate Speech January 29, 2015

This week Rabbi Brad Hirschfield considers two very different cases that focus on bakers in Colorado and wedding cakes for gay couples. Rabbi Hirschfield says, “There is a fundamental difference between refusing to serve somebody because of who they are, and insisting that all those with whom we interact affirm everything that we believe in."

Rabbi Brad Hirschfield is a panelist on "talk back" following Elements Theatre Company’s The Merchant of Venice on Mon. 2/9/15 at 7pm at Classic Stage Company in NYC January 29, 2015

In the series, titled “A Pound of Flesh: Exploring Qualities of Mercy when Encountering the Other,” noted religious leaders, artists and scholars will examine the background and motivation of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice and consider the impact of his persecution on his own choices and on society at large.

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Should Synagogues be Vehicles for Societal Transformation? January 29, 2015

"...our prophetic heritage should compel us to pursue social justice from our congregational platforms. There is a reason we read the Haftarah in addition to the Torah every Shabbat. Judaism mandates conscientiousness both about our internal ritual lives and the values we express publicly. This spirit of societal rebuke and a refusal to accept the status quo is inherent to our tradition.

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Blacks and Jews: Oppression Not the Same January 29, 2015

Rabbi Amy Small in a presentation as part of her recently launched venture, Deborah's Palm, an organization designed to help Jews and fellow travelers access Jewish wisdom for meaningful spiritual living, is quoted as saying:"that despite the similarities characterizing the persecution and subjugation of Jews and blacks throughout history, our oppression was not the same...differences between the two communities’ oppression emerged.

Janet R. Kirchheimer Exhibit, Kean University, Union, NJ January 28, 2015

"How to Spot One of Us," a collaborative exhibition of poetry, film and photography by Janet R. Kirchheimer and Aliza Augustine, is showing at Kean University. Join Janet and Aliza at the opening on Tuesday, February 10 from 5:00 - 7:00pm at the Human Rights Institute Gallery. For more information, contact Janet at


By Clal

Rabbi Sid Schwarz Led a Service Mission in Haiti with 20 members of Adat Shalom at end of 2014 January 26, 2015

"...Schwarz and 20 congregants returned from a 10-day trip to Haiti in December — the congregation’s third trip in four years to the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. There, they partnered with a pastor and used their bodies and their bank accounts to build houses and provide school tuition for Haitian families, many who had been living under tarps since the devastating 2010 earthquake..."

Rabbi Brad Hirschfield on the State of the Union: What Is Fair and Who Gets to Decide? January 23, 2015

Following our President's recent call for a more fair tax system, Rabbi Brad Hirschfield explores why Americans, a generous people on the whole, get stuck debating how much individual taxpayers owe. Is it because we harbor too many doubts about our leaders? "It's not about fairness, it's about trust."

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Why a Rabbi? Five Aspirations for Rabbinic Life January 23, 2015

"...Understanding the rabbi as energetic capacitor shifts our question about what Jews need in rabbis. A new kind of answer emerges: Jews most need rabbis to the extent that rabbis fulfill their energetic functions. Critically, a rabbi’s title, learning and visible leadership do not alone discharge these energetic functions..."

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