Clal makes the gifts of Jewish tradition accessible tools for spiritual growth and development.
"Today is International Women’s Day, and we have a confluence, as we sometimes do, between secular observances and our Jewish calendar. For just three days after International Women’s Day we celebrate Purim, a holiday in which the accomplishments of women are pivotal to the story.
"The following letter to the Palestinian people shall never be sent. After at least three rewritings and endless discussions among my colleagues, it has been concluded that it would never have the effect we had hoped. Its message would be misused and distorted by the traumatized Palestinian people whose hearts it was meant to open. And the backlash it would cause in my Jewish community among those who have come back to settle the hills of Judea after our 2000 year exile, would be fierce and unforgiving.
"Each page had a title: A page for each of my children with their name on it, of course; the name of my spiritual community as well. Pages with titles like Work, Healing, Israel, Help, in which I recorded prayer requests pertaining to those categories as well.
"His experiments on himself over the decades yielded a large body of work known as Awareness Through Movement lessons, delivered in group classes, and in one-on-one sessions called Functional Integration. The group lessons, originally delivered in Hebrew and later translated into other languages, direct students through unusual and 'pointless' positions, at times recreating the organic learning of infants.
" 'He has told you, O man, what is good, And what the LORD requires of you: Only to do justice And to love goodness, And to walk humbly with your God.'
"Others might say that joy is the end result of spiritual life, but what then do we make of the fact that we all have moments in our lives that are not joyful? If we’re feeling sorrow or grief, does that mean that we’re 'failing' at being spiritual? (Hardly: it means we’re succeeding at being authentic to where we are.)
"With anti–Semitic headlines in the news, NY Governor, Andrew Cuomo, announced yesterday that he is making a 24-hour visit to Israel. Now, I love Israel, have made trips almost as short for a whole variety of reasons, and would never want to discourage anyone from visiting there, but this is just not smart – and for so many reasons. Don't get me wrong, I don't doubt the Governor's good intentions, but how, for starters, does visiting Israel address issues of antisemitism here in America?
"We humans are social creatures, and Hillel’s dictum, 'Don’t separate yourself from the community' isn’t just a commandment. It’s a requirement for our well-being. And one line from Pirke Avot could help us navigate the isolation, conflicts and interpersonal challenges that will inevitably arise.
The line is this: 'Make yourself a teacher, acquire yourself a friend, and judge every person favorably.' (Avot 1:6) Those three ideas are crucial for living on an isolated wasteland.
"When my friends ask me how I like my new job, I halfheartedly complain that it’s interfering with my protest schedule. Now that I’m teaching full-time, I’m mostly limited to weekend rallies. Just this week, I saw pictures on Facebook of my colleagues at the State Capitol and felt sorry that I couldn’t miss school to be with them....
"In the context of Irish literature, the reader may find herself caught in the funky twists and turns of its stories, mainly due to the fluidity of their nature. At the entrance of each tale, content clues and road maps are sold for twenty five cents each; but without our handy footnotes, it’s only too easy to get lost in the world of the fantastical.