Clal makes the gifts of Jewish tradition accessible tools for spiritual growth and development.
"Most of us live in a bubble – the bubble of our friends, our family, our workplace and our community. Last night, I had the opportunity to go outside of my bubble and break bread with a group of recent Syrian refugees. As a member of the New York board of Rabbis, I was invited to participate in a friendship dinner through UNICEF. I was part of a small group of Jewish and Christian clergy who were there to welcome these immigrants to our country.
"...She may have become Judy Garland, but deep down she was always Frances Gumm: an ordinary girl with an extraordinary gift. A gift that resonated deep within the human soul. A gift that enthralled audiences, made other people rich and ultimately destroyed her life. Hers was a gift that should have been treasured and treated with love and respect. Instead it was exploited, and used to satiate the greed of others. This is what we humans do when we envisage ways to make use of the gift of another.
"At 18 years old, I was prepared to make a lot of life changes. After all, I was about to venture into the world of independence. That April, I had received my college acceptance letters. But then, when an unforeseen blood clot caused my body to go into septic shock, my life really did change forever...."
"Jeff Greenwald, a respected travel writer, lives by one line from Kurt Vonnegut’s book, “Cat’s Cradle.”
"I’ve come to a simple but extraordinary conclusion: whenever possible, I should enjoy myself. You should too, probably, unless you’re a masochist who likes being miserable. Even then, my advice holds, though you might choose to run marathons or eschew your favorite foods whenever you can, because you’re one of those hearty souls who draws fun from austerity...."
"I had already seen the cover art of this week’s New Yorker magazine in a news feed, but when the magazine arrived in my mailbox , the image – a wisp of smoke ascending from Lady Liberty’s smoldering torch – brought tears to my eyes. The only words I could articulate were, 'This is not what my father went to war for.'
"You’ve probably never heard of him, but my friend, Steven Esses, died last week. He left us from a too-quick and too-brutal bout with one of the worst illnesses on the planet. As per the tradition of my tribe, I won’t even mention its name, just as I’d refuse to mention the name of a murderer or a terrorist–extra publicity is the last thing I’d want to give either of them. But as for Steven, I’d just as soon talk about him all day long.
"'You have to decide who you are, and force the world to deal with you, not with its idea of you.'
"I read An Interrupted Life and Letters from Westerbork for the first time six years ago. Then, her words leapt directly from the page into my heart. At the time, I struggled quite a bit with formulating my thoughts and putting them on the page. Etty’s no-nonsense advice to herself was exactly what I’d needed to hear:
A few weeks ago I was at a, first of its kind, gathering in Austin, TX. The leaders of more than ten national religious denominations came together to explore why their congregations were losing membership so rapidly over the last decade. The gathering included leadership from the Methodists, Episcopalians, United Church of Christ, Lutherans, Unitarian Universalists as well as top leadership from the Union for Reform Judaism, United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism and the Reconstructionist Movement.