Clal builds bridges across communities to encourage pluralism, diversity, and openness.
"If the President chooses to speak out on this issue, and it’s debatable, in my view, whether or not he should, he better have something substantive to say. So please, Mr. President, what have you got for us? If you want such attacks to stop, tell us what role you have, or even could have, in stopping them.
Commentary on Parshat Bo, Exodus 10:1-13:16
"There are aspects of the Passover story, of the Jews being spared and the separateness that they are marked with, as described in the Torah portion Bo, that rub up against some of my more modern and inclusive sensibilities. Having strong ties to academia and the arts, I’ll admit to being influenced by narratives that conflate separateness with narrowness and universalism with expansiveness.
"Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls, authored House File 386 to widen the options available to families, he told the members of the House's Education Finance Committee.Kresha's bill expands an education tax credit program to include private tuition....Kresha gave a passionate defense of his bill.
"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.
"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.'
"When President Trump issued his executive order banning refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries, setting off a wave of protests and condemnations, many Jewish groups who opposed the ban noted the cruel irony that the ban was issued on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
In addition, Jewish groups also noted with dismay that the statement the Trump White House issued in observance of that day failed to mention Jews specifically, saying that they 'took into account all of those who suffered.'"
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.
"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: