Personal Growth

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

Brad Hirschfield on California Governor Jerry Brown's End of Life Option Act October 9, 2015

This week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law ABX2 15, also known as the End of Life Option Act, which allows physicians to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients who want to hasten their death. Some critics of the controversial law claim that “we are playing God.” According to Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, we are always playing God, in fact “we are here to imitate God.”

From Odyssey Networks’ FAITH ON THE RECORD

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: There's No Such Thing as Closure October 8, 2015

"There is a relationship in my life that has gnawed at my heartstrings for more than twenty years, and each year, during the Days of Awe, I do what I can to bring it to closure, internal closure, quieting the triggers, accepting desire unmet, forgiving the action and inaction that causes me pain. I let go and let go again in a conscious process of coming into equilibrium. And, annually, I am quieter in this season, accepting of a certain failure, ok with regret, ok with a particular sadness, a particular loneliness.

The Wisdom Daily: Get Busy Living: The Beauty of Midlife Momentum October 8, 2015

"...In our part of the world, unless we're confronted with major illness or loss, most of us live our first four decades with little worry. We're physically strong, able to exert ourselves to all kinds of limits. We can stay up late, eat and drink a lot; indeed, we have so many ‘extra’ brain cells that we can think on overdrive, even when we've exhausted ourselves. But at around 40, our eyes already begin to dim...."

The Wisdom Daily: Praying Into the Void for a Connection October 7, 2015

"...after reading this devastatingly beautiful ‘Missed Connection’ recently, I'm reminded once again that the mere act of bravely setting our prayers free – into the void – can be just as beneficial to our souls as the actual thing we're asking for. The Craigslist poster, unidentified thus far, reaches into the virtual abyss to connect with someone he met 43 years ago.

The Wisdom Daily: Who Would You Wish to Spend One Last Day With? October 6, 2015

"If there were any person in your life, living or dead, with whom you could spend one last day, who would it be? And how would you spend that day? No, I'm not stealing this question from college applications. I'm feeling the pain of the mass murder at Umpqua Community College in Oregon and the killings of Eitam and Na'ama Henkin in Israel. The deep desire to hold close those I love is definitely part of my response...."

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Five Stages of Soul October 5, 2015

"The Torah begins with the birth of the world. It ends with the death of Moshe (Moses). Between these two bookends, the Torah’s story unfolds. Explicitly, it’s the story of the early Israelite community. Implicitly, it’s also the story of a typical human developmental journey...."

Brad Hirschfield on A Wedding Made Unforgettable by Dad’s Decision October 2, 2015

At Brittany Peck's wedding in Ohio last month, she reportedly worried about who should walk her down the aisle. Putting her feelings first, her father surprised guests when he reached a hand out to Brittany's stepfather, pulled him from his seat, put their animosity aside and insisted that he participate in the bride's entrance. The wedding photos taken by Delia Blackburn have gone viral, and it's clear why according to Brad Hirschfield: "There are probably more good partners in our lives than we realize [and] the kind of love and open-hearted honesty that led to that moment? We all need more of it."

From Odyssey Networks’ FAITH ON THE RECORD

The Wisdom Daily: Can You Learn to Love Navigating Transitions? October 1, 2015

"When I was the parent of a toddler, I learned that transitions are hard. Toddlers don't have a clear sense of time, so hearing "the playdate will be over at noon" doesn't necessarily help them prepare. They may not have much agency in their lives, so acceding to changes may feel like yet another place where they aren't in control. And they don't have the life experience to know that everything ends - so to them, every ending is a new heartbreak...."

The Wisdom Daily: Shelter Me -- Faith in an Imperfect World September 30, 2015

"At this time of year, what is the importance of the sukkah? The temporary shelter stands with a roof made of branches that do not provide a full cover. If it rains, the inside is made unusable and a very strong wind may knock it down. And yet we plan the weeklong autumnal holiday of Sukkot to be spent eating (and in some places, sleeping) under it.

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Small But Proud Jewish Communities September 28, 2015

"I grew up in a fairly small Jewish community. In the ’80s, Austin, Texas was not the cool mecca it is today. There was one small Reform synagogue and one small Conservative synagogue. There was only one other Jewish kid in my class in grade school. I remember each year having to explain to my teacher that I would be out for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and having her say, “Russia what?”..."

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