Clal makes the gifts of Jewish tradition accessible tools for spiritual growth and development.
"As the calendar flips to December, nightfall comes ever earlier, and many of us don our winter coats for the first time, Jews throughout America once again will encounter a challenging cultural/religious question: how should we celebrate Hanukkah? Sure, there will be candle-lighting and latkes, but what else? Lavish presents? Contemporary, catchy songs? Vodka and latke parties? Or, to put it more succinctly, how much like Christmas should our Hanukkah celebration be?..."
"Do you find yourself longing for greater peace, and a bit more light, in what often feels like an increasingly dark and confusing time? Given the events of the passing weeks and months, that’s not surprising. In fact, how could it be otherwise? That is why the holiday of Chanukah has never been more important than it is this year...."
"Hanukkah is coming. It’s time to tell stories about armed resistance against oppression. Children will read about the five brave Maccabee sons in picture books. Hebrew school students will enact dramatic battles in seasonal plays. Feminists and art lovers will view graphic paintings of Judith cutting off the head of Holofernes. Musicians will sing about the wars won by God and human beings. We’ll experience a cathartic cycle of fear, excitement, anxiety, relief and joy...."
"On Thanksgiving morning when I entered a large grocery store in Wicker Park, Chicago, I was transported back to a long ago uncomfortable memory. At that time, while living across Lake Michigan from Chicago, I shopped at a branch of this supermarket chain. I told a friend I was abandoning the large supermarket in Benton Harbor, having found a new, smaller market that was more easily navigable. The large store was crowded, aisles jammed with displays and bumper-car-like navigation, ending in long checkout lines...."
"Now, let’s get real: Some don’t feel thankful today. We might feel like the turkeys got us down. We might feel burdened by hosting, harried by travel, lonely for having nowhere to go, bothered for having to go somewhere we don’t want to go, or pre-triggered by a secular holiday season happier in advertising than anticipation or reality.
Maybe we should find moments to be grateful every day of the year and not focus all our thankfulness on one holiday, suggests Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, president of Clal and co-founder and executive editor of TheWisdomDaily.com.
From Odyssey Networks’ FAITH ON THE RECORD
"Last night I participated in my town of Westborough’s Interfaith Thanksgiving. Our program was entitled ‘Welcoming the Stranger’, recalling that part of the Thanksgiving narrative is a story of those who arrived by boat on these shores, seeking freedom to worship in their own way.
" If you suddenly had an extra $100,000, what would you do with it? Would you pay off outstanding debts for education or on your credit cards? How about getting out from under your mortgage? Gifts to those you love? Save for the future or give to causes in which you believe? Good arguments can be made for all of those, but now let's shake up this little thought experiment with a story from this week's news...."
" From Odyssey Networks' Faith on the Record series: Here's a piece of Thanksgiving advice that's actually useful before, during and after the holiday. And it's advice you're not likely to hear anyplace else: Don't worry about gratitude and thankfulness on Thanksgiving. Surprised? Watch my video for more insight and discussion on when we should worry about gratitude...."
"Every so often, people's Facebook feeds explode with a new viral sensation -- a personality quiz, an ice-bucket challenge, a changed profile background. The most recent fad is a quiz to let you see a word cloud of your ‘most used words on Facebook...’"