Politics & Culture

Clal offers new perspectives on contemporary issues, bringing Jewish insights to the American public.

Clal Joins NY Stands with Israel Community-wide Rally 7/28/14 July 25, 2014

Whatever our politics, right or left, hawk or dove, we all stand with Israel in this dangerous time. Clal faculty will be at this rally. It's time to be heard. Join us. Stand with Israel.
Community-Wide Rally
Monday, July 28th, 2014 12:30 p.m.
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza (2nd Avenue and 47th Street)New York City

Irwin Kula: This Is Why Religion Is Just a Technology July 25, 2014

"...The problem with most religious leadership, Kula claims, is that its mission is to convert the non-affiliated. “Religion is not about creed, dogma, or tribe,” he counters. “We need to stop judging our success by membership dues — this isn’t about how many hits. First and foremost, religion is a toolbox designed to help human beings flourish.”..."

Brad Hirschfield on The Role of Religion in the Ukrainian–Russian Conflict July 25, 2014

Rabbi Brad Hirschfield looks at the long history of conflict between Russia & the Ukraine and the role that religious leaders can play in choosing to either fan the flames or inspire positive change to build a better future.

From Odyssey Networks’s FAITH ON THE RECORD

The Wisdom Daily: Leaving Baggage and Blame at the Door – How to Talk about Israel and Gaza July 25, 2014

"The war between Hamas and Israel drags on, with Hamas yet again rejecting the cease fire proposed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. But this post isn’t about ascribing blame, it’s about the increasingly difficult challenge of talking about the Middle East in any way that doesn’t focus on just that – on winning the blame game, as opposed to allowing the safety we have here in America to encourage conversation that might actually make a positive difference, whether our passion is for Israel or for Gaza..."

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Jews Don't Believe in Birthdays but in Saving Lives July 24, 2014

"My husband does not do birthdays. When I first met him over 20 years ago, this truly puzzled me. Birthdays were simply not a big deal and when I pressed for a reason he fell back on tradition, reminding me that Jews don’t believe in birthdays...Birthdays are not a big deal in Jewish tradition...."

Janet R. Kirchheimer's Essay Opens Poetry Blog July 24, 2014

Clal Teaching Fellow Janet R. Kirchheimer's essay entitled "At the Water's Edge - Reflections on Poetry and the Torah" kicks off a new series on the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research's website — Poetry Wednesdays. She reminds us that “all great poetry reaches toward the sacred.”

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From Collegeville Institute.org Blog

At the Water's Edge by Janet R. Kirchheimer July 24, 2014

" Today, poet Janet R. Kirchheimer kicks off a new series on our website—Poetry Wednesdays. As part of this series, we will be publishing poems from Collegeville Institute program participants on Wednesdays, on a semi-regular basis. Janet’s essay on poetry below reminds us that, “all great poetry reaches toward the sacred.” "

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By Janet R. Kirchheimer

The Wisdom Daily: Beyond Living with Cancer. Stuart Scott’s Wisdom for Living, Period. July 23, 2014

"This video of ESPN's Stuart Scott accepting the Jimmy V Perseverance Award is about way more than living with cancer - as if that would not be reason enough to watch. You can watch from the beginning, or pick it up at 6:50 when his speech begins, but either way you will be both inspired and enlightened.

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Jon Stewart Can’t Talk About Israel, But We Must July 23, 2014

"...We all have a tendency to read more from those who already think like us. So how do we navigate our way through the quagmire of information? One might try to distinguish between what is descriptive and what is opinion. But this isn’t always useful. We might hear a news report that begins by telling us how many Gazans died today and how many times Israel fired on Gaza. That is descriptive.

The Wisdom Daily: The Israel-Hamas War: Hope on the Edge July 22, 2014

"Use your words," I remember saying to my children when they wanted to hit or bite during those terrible twos when children don't have the words to adequately communicate their feelings. Well, the words of diplomats and politicians, political scientists and pundits, intelligence and military experts, artists, religious leaders, and peace activists have all failed. We are killing each other rather than using our words.

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