Personal Growth

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

Needed: Conversations on Choosing Life December 21, 2013

"Truly caring for a person at the end of life requires conversations — about love and legacy, about bestowing and receiving blessings, about choosing life versus fighting death...."

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By Rabbi Irwin Kula, Opinion, Special to The Jewish Week
11/12/13

Santa Is White, Really! December 20, 2013

"You can't make this stuff up. Last night, FOX New's Megyn Kelly reassured her viewers that Santa really is white. At first, at least, it sounds nuts. Where to begin? The claim that a mythic figure is "really" anything? Ms. Kelly's need to reassure people that a much loved icon could be anything other than white? It really is hard to know where to begin...."

Brad Hirschfield and MJHS Connecting with the Community December 20, 2013

Rabbi Brad Hirschfield served as keynote speaker at Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale on November 14th, 2013, where he addressed a session on the spectrum of Jewish issues in end of life care.Read more...

From MJHS Foundation in Focus. Vol. 14, No. 4.

The Wisdom Daily: “What If?”: Inside Llewyn Davis December 20, 2013

"the Coen brothers go even deeper, not only inviting us to think about what makes our lives significant but also to face the truth about how much our personal story is “simply” part of waves and forces so much beyond our control. How our lives play out are the consequences of a seemingly infinite number of “What ifs?”...."

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The Wisdom Daily: Standing Your Ground December 19, 2013

"How many opportunities do we lose out on, and how much time do we waste worrying about where we aren’t, instead of genuinely appreciating where we are? How much energy do we expend agonizing over who we aren’t, as opposed to celebrating who we are?

Sinai and Synapses: More Light, Less Heat — Rabbi Josh Stanton and Imam Abdullah Antepli December 18, 2013

Too often, the discussion around religion and science produces a lot of heat, but very little light. Over the next few months, Sinai and Synapses will be working to change that.

Thank You for Sharing Sam December 16, 2013

"...Going public with your own or a loved one’s journey towards death is not for everyone. I completely respect that many people want and need to keep their journeys private. But for those for whom it is cathartic to write, blog, Facebook, and Tweet, I am thankful that we now have these tools available to us. Reading others’ stories and how they find incredible reserves of courage, strength, and love in the face of death makes us all stronger.

The Wisdom Daily: Beauty in the Eyes of the Beholder December 13, 2013

"How do you react when you see a physically disabled person? Do you stare? Do you avert your gaze? What do you feel – discomfort, shock, fear, anxiety, curiosity, compassion? Has the way you responded to seeing the physically disabled changed over time?

Research shows that viewers of positive portrayals of the disabled on television programs and in the movies are more likely to perceive discrimination and less likely to have negative emotions when encountering people with disabilities...."

RWB Fellow Zach Fredman Teaching at AJR's Living Torah Through The Arts December 13, 2013

When artists, art-lovers, teachers of Torah, and curious Jews come together, creativity and out-of-the-box thinking result. Using the weekly Torah portion — the Crossing of the Sea of Reeds — as our material, the Academy for Jewish Religion's Sacred Arts Institute will explore how close and contextual readings of the Torah can inspire art and how art can reveal new meanings of Torah. Join the Academy for Jewish Religion in its Sacred Arts Institute in Yonkers, NY, for an encounter between the arts and the text. January 5-9, 2014.

Among the teachers is Rabbi Zach Fredman who is a Clal Rabbis Without Border Fellow and Resident along with his pulpit synagogue, The New Shul.

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Mandela and Messianic Time December 13, 2013

"...I cannot wrap my mind around the vision of Messianic time, even though the great Jewish philosopher Maimonides insists that hope is a pillar of Jewish spirituality. On Yom Kippur, I had a quick glimpse of hope. The idealism of my son and his friends, the liturgy’s endless prayers for peace, and the community’s yearning for self-improvement seduced me. But the glimpse soon faded into memory…

Until this week.

Last week, [Clal's] Rabbi Tsvi Blanchard commented on the story of Joseph’s reconciliation with his long-lost brothers. What a risk Joseph takes when he reaches out to these men he knew only as bullies! He reveals himself, literally and figuratively. Literally, he cries and cries. Speaking his brothers’ language, he says “I am Joseph.” Figuratively, he opens his heart, showing that he hopes to be received with love...."

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