Clal makes the gifts of Jewish tradition accessible tools for spiritual growth and development.
"...We often forget that the question of ‘who am I?’ is not a fixed one — it's a contextual one, dependent on what our role is with other people. And while we do need ‘firm identities’ in the limited roles we play, we also need to be fluid enough to shift from one role to the next. It's not our personality traits but what we bring to the world that defines ‘who we are....’"
"...This was one of many lists I created every night in the hospital. I'd make myself think of something I was grateful for from A to Z, even when I hated my circumstances. By rummaging through my angry and frustrated thoughts, eventually, some positivity submerged. By the time I reached ‘Z,’ my life had not changed dramatically, but my thoughts had...."
"...Talking about sex is a Jewish value, one that our tradition teaches us and Jewish culture through the generations upholds. Maybe today more than ever, or perhaps today just as ever, adults have a responsibility to the next generation to talk about sex and sexuality...."
"...During my hydrant quest, self-consciousness crept in as I cycled around. I wondered if I should stop, turn around and do something more ‘grown up’, as if spending an hour being delighted had little value. As I keep learning, play for its own sake is a necessity, not a luxury or something we're meant to outgrow. The need to play comes from our essence and is an integral part of being human...."
"...Judaism is about balancing the playful and the serious. Life is about balancing them as well. We all have times when play and levity just don't feel right, times when we need to be serious and solemn, thoughtful and intentional. And at other times, we crave and embrace the humor and levity...."
At the first national Consultation for the New Paradigm Spiritual Community Initiative, convened by Rabbi Sid Schwarz, participants were asked in advance to describe the ways that they form and sustain their respective spiritual communities.
To read their responses...
From New Paradigm Spiritual Communities Initiative, npsci.org
Join Clal Resident, Rabbi Dan Ain of Because Jewish, as he leads "Seder Shabang: Wise, Wicked, Simple + Without Words" held at the JCC in Manhattan on Friday evening, April 22, 2016.
"...When there has been a profound loss, one can feel as though life will never be sweet again. As though the moment one wakes the grief will be crushing again, and it will be crushing until sleep, and then maybe also even in sleep. But it isn't perennial. The day will come when you wake and grief isn't the first thing to arise. The day will come when you wake with ease. With comfort. Even with joy. The crushing weight of grief will lift, and on the other side -- please, let there be gentleness.
"What draws people to come to religious services?
It's a question that has bedeviled clergy and dedicated lay leaders over the last few decades as more and more people leave organized religion. Sometimes people argue that churches and synagogues need to embrace the latest flashy trends. Others argue that deep commitment and tradition are what will draw people in...."
"...So my question is really, why? Why is almost everyone striving, on a daily basis, for the very things that don't make them happy? Why do we live our lives in search of something that hasn't been shown – whether from the viewpoint of an academic study – or our own experiences, to give us anything more than bragging rights, (something also shown to do nothing to increase our happiness?) If I had to hazard a guess I'd say it has something to do with fear.