Clal offers new perspectives on contemporary issues, bringing Jewish insights to the American public.
"For many years, the organization that I led - PANIM - ran 4-day seminars on Jewish values and social activism for teens who came to Washington D.C. from around the country. When I would speak to the students, my lead-off question would be: Who are your spiritual heroes?..."
"We sat in synagogue most, if not all, of the day. We didn't eat. We thought about the ways we missed the mark. We were steeped in the messages and ideas of Yom Kippur all day.
But today, we're back at work. We've got e-mails to respond to, kids to drive to school and gymnastics and soccer, and are dealing with the day-to-day grind of our lives. And that's why even though Yom Kippur is important, the day after is even more so...."
"...I have wondered lately if we transfer our fears and anxiety on to our two presidential candidates and on this coming election.
I wonder lately if all of our obsessive attention on the election deters us from acting in ways which will actually change our course for the better...."
"...Our lives are a constant balancing acts between yetzer harah and yetzer hatov. Sadly, most of the time, we don't do a great job at this balancing act. Somedays, we hide behind walls and think only about what we want. On other days we knock down the walls, put everyone else first and forget about our own needs. But, every so often, things click and we achieve the right balance between what I want, need and believe and what you want, need and believe...."
"...While I pray for all of my children–for their health and happiness, and their safety in an uncertain world–I found myself unable to pray for anything in the days following the Orlando attack. I found solace only in the recitation of psalms, in the original Hebrew and in Stephen Mitchell's English adaptations. These rich expressions of human emotion help me feel less alone...."
"...I believe that whether we realize it or not, we may encounter angels in our lives, and we may be angels. As with God, we don't have proof one way or the other of the existence of angels, divine messengers. We have no obligation to believe that they are real. But they are present in Jewish tradition, as well as other traditions...."
"An older man and an older woman, sparring for the throne. And the country watching, mouths agape, as if it is some gladiatorial sport from days of yore. Half of us are hating the one, and the other half hating the other. We fill our minds with our own words, and see through glasses colored to our preference. We cheer for our favorites when they make a clever jab, and cry ‘liar’ at the opposition's witty retort...."
"...With that simple question, a bitter, tedious evening turned toward something genuinely constructive and impactful. Even sitting at home, I felt the energy in the audience change from a mixture of bored exhaustion mixed with cage match fury, to one of surprise, interest and hope. You tell me which set of emotions is more likely to lead our nation to a better place, however you define that better place?..."
"...Last week I was the Em Beit Din, the head rabbi on a panel of rabbis, for an extraordinary conversion. The woman we were converting was in New South Wales And the rabbis on the beit din were in Georgia, Tennessee, New York City, Chappaqua, New York and New Mexico...."
"Until the advent of aviation no one except for the highest mountain-dwellers knew what the world looked like from above the clouds. No one understood what it was like to peer down to witness them as a floor and not a ceiling. I had been flying at 30 thousand feet and for a second, though I'd long since been inured to the wonder of air travel, that high altitude view struck me as beautiful and mysterious once more.