Leadership

Clal nurtures new skills in leaders, helping them to prepare for the civic, spiritual, intellectual and ethical challenges in American life.

My Yom Kippur Sermon: My Statement of Values – Signing Myself Into the Book of Life October 14, 2014

"Last night, I spoke about the importance of symbolically signing the Book of Life and leaving a permanent mark on this world. I urged us all to actually sign our own Book of Life that is in the hallway – and I invite those who haven’t yet done so, to please add your signature!

Tzemah Yoreh: Genesis: Israel's Origins October 13, 2014

In this book, Clal Resident Tzemah Yoreh, Ph.D. discusses the issue that in the earliest version of Genesis there is no creation story or flood. Abraham appears out of nowhere in Canaan. Isaac is killed for his father’s sins and Jacob and his seven sons are the founders of Israel. The brothers don’t sell Joseph down to Egypt and Judah doesn’t exist. Genesis: Israel’s Origins traces the slow development of this uniquely divergent account into the canonical text of the Book of Genesis.

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Why We Build Something That We Know We’ll Take Down October 13, 2014

"Yom Kippur is an exhausting day. By the end of the day, we’re tired, we’re hungry, and we’re just ready to be done. But traditionally, even if you’re exhausted, there’s a mitzvah to fulfill the next day: on the day after Yom Kippur, you’re supposed to build your sukkah.What’s fascinating is that the day after Yom Kippur was also seen as the first day of building for the two most important structures in Jewish history—the mishkan (home for the Ark of the Covenant), and the First Temple in Jerusalem.

Is Suicide Wrong? Always? October 9, 2014

This week, 29-year-old Brittany Maynard announced that she will be ending her life on November 1. Maynard has an aggressive form of brain cancer and has received a terminal diagnosis. Rather than putting her family and herself through the ordeal of a painful and drawn-out death, she has chosen physician assisted suicide, which is legal in Oregon. “Sometimes, like in the case of Brittany Maynard, it may be that choosing to end one’s life is actually in its own way an affirmation of life itself,”

The Wisdom Daily: Yom Kippur: The Truth About One’s Truths October 6, 2014

"Yom Kippur is the most sacred day in the Jewish calendar. Simply put it is a day-long practice in Reality Therapy. For 25 hours or so the practice is neither to eat nor drink nor make love nor enjoy the comforts and conveniences of life - be it a shower or a smart phone - but to reflect and contemplate our mortality, to feel deeply there is no guarantee that we (or anyone in our life) will even be here tomorrow, to be on our deathbed but be fully conscious.

The Wisdom Daily: How Elastic is Your Narrative? A TEDxFultonStreet Talk October 2, 2014

"Chrysalis — a hard shell surrounding a young moth in the process of maturation. From the greek, chrysos, meaning gold. Chrysalis is also the name of TEDxFultonStreet’s 2014 conference, and like the name, included people with stories and ideas of how, after a bit of maturation/protection, and the willingness to break out of the shells which often surround us/our hearts/our minds, we can discover golden opportunities...."

The Wisdom Daily: Repair and Reconciliation: Coming Back From a Broken Place October 1, 2014

"Two weeks ago, I wrote about an upcoming trip to Cuba and promised to report back. While I could not have known it before I went, my return, like this report, coming just before Yom Kippur - the Day of Atonement - is so well timed. Synchronicity is a beautiful thing!Yom Kippur promises that there is no sin from which we cannot recover, and no rupture that cannot be repaired. But do we really believe that? Do we really treat ourselves, let alone others, as if that were true?

For Israel, A Difficult Season Of Reckoning October 1, 2014

"The season of reckoning is upon us. For Jews, the sentiment will likely evoke thoughts of the upcoming Days of Awe. Both the Hebrew month of Elul and then the ten days of repentance that starts with Rosh HaShana and ends with Yom Kippur is the time when Jews are called upon to go into introspection mode. Where we identify particular sins of commission or omission the Jewish tradition calls upon us to repent and to make amends..."

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Gratitude and Forgiving the Unforgivable September 30, 2014

"A while back I suggested a unique way of doing the chesbon nefesh (soul’s accounting) we are expected to do this time of year. The tools I suggested are useful year round, but they are timely during this season of Teshuva (repentance).As I understand them, the Yamim Noraim (Days of Awe) rests on two central themes: Gratitude and Forgiveness.

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Dear Friend, May You Be Written in the Book of Life September 29, 2014

"May you be Written in the Book of Life” is such a nice phrase to utter at this time of year, between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Most years I don’t think much about it. It is easy to ignore the weight of the words when everyone in your life is healthy.This year is different. A close friend is struggling with aggressive breast cancer. Instead of casually saying these words, I am fervently praying them on her behalf..."

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