Clal makes the gifts of Jewish tradition accessible tools for spiritual growth and development.
Rabbis Without Borders Fellow Sandra Lawson has been chosen as one of the JTA's "10 Jews You Should Follow on Snapchat". Sandra, a rabbinical student, spends much of her time explaining weekly Torah portions and demystifying Judaism, as well as encouraging followers to snap her with questions about religious practice.
"...[Rabbi] Sirbu said she once taught a class called “Death, Dine and the Afterlife”* in a Panera restaurant in West Orange, N.J. She said the class was so popular that about 20 non-Jews joined those who were already attending. She said other rabbis are also doing more pop-up Shabbat services and dinners aimed at Jews of all ages....
"...Our time in North Carolina gave me and my family the opportunity to connect with the simple, beautiful, inspirational natural world – an opportunity that our daily obligations and routines often keep us from embracing. My family and I needed this connection – this time to enjoy and absorb our surroundings and, in turn, recharge ourselves...."
"I sometimes fall into an amazing fantasy of learning, sharing, and growing. There's a small group of students and an enthusiastic teacher. Maybe they're teens, maybe they range in age from 20 to 95: it doesn't much matter. They've read a short piece filled with intriguing, debatable ideas on big questions that inspire them. Or they've watched a fascinating film together.
"...As Jews who believe deeply in pluralism and tolerance, we cannot stand idly by while fellow Jews are assaulted and treated as deviants unfit for Jewish ritual experience. If there is anywhere on earth where all Jews, no matter their background or level of observance, should be able to pray as they see fit, it is at the Kotel.
"...We're a family of educators. Through our work, we provide access to educational services, social networks, and empowering ideologies for marginalized groups. We raise awareness about discrimination in hiring, social services and health care allocations. We spread an inclusive social vision.
And yet. Most days we feel we make little difference. Because we're part of a system that keeps generating inequality...."
"...At a time when it is easy to be discouraged by the violence and divisiveness in our country, I became filled with hope listening to these kids. They not only understand the connections between the age-old Jewish wisdom of our texts and values, but they feel it in their core. Camp empowers our children to be themselves and to celebrate who they are. The sound of that hate-filled voice became drowned out by these kids finding their own voices and claiming their faith for themselves...."
"...Of course, the comforting idea that certain times are ‘supposed’ to be happy isn't always the world's way. Real life rarely follows our schedules. When life feels cold and hard when we expect it to be warm and soft, we're prone to feel doubly hurt – once by actual events, and again by how distant those events feel from what we expect. Expectations can end up hurting more than they help...."
"There is an African tradition that teaches when a person says “Hi” to a neighbor, instead of returning the salutation with the same “Hi,” the neighbor is to respond, “I see you.” How incredibly wise. We pass each other by and so often simply offer perfunctory words of greeting. But as human beings, perhaps, more than anything, we just want to be seen and heard and understood. This African tradition reminds us that we have to intentionally pause and acknowledge and see from a layer underneath.
Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger is an active and early member of Rabbis Without Borders, innovating in the most critical area with deep and ethical pluralism around the Israeli-Palestinian relationship. His organization, Roots, is dedicated to fostering a grassroots movement of understanding, nonviolence and transformation among Israelis and Palestinians.