Jewish Toolkit

Brad Hirchfield on Noah Brings in the Box Office and the Controversy April 11, 2014

The movie Noah, starring Russell Crowe, continues to attract money (it's earned over $178 million in its first two weeks of release) and controversy. Everyone seems to be talking about it, from the Vatican to Jon Stewart, and it's been banned in some countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia.But according to Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, President of CLAL and co-Founder and Executive Editor of TheWisdomDaily.com, both the critics and the critics' critics are looking to "see what they already believe is what they see when they look at the Bible", and maybe they should be looking for something else.

Passover and Jewish personhood April 11, 2014

"...Passover, like most Jewish Americans’ identities as revealed in the Pew study, celebrates the personal and even the idiosyncratic. While Passover recognizes the importance of peoplehood, it focuses at least as heavily on the celebration of personhood—of the dignity of each individual and his/her right to be free...."

The “Wicked” Child of the Pew Study April 11, 2014

"Pesach is coming, and at sedarim across the Jewish community we will once again label four children as wise, wicked, simple, and the one who does not know how to ask. I have always struggled with this part of the seder for two reasons. All of my work with young people has taught me that we should avoid labeling children because it gives them a negative message, often encouraging them to live up to the label we ascribe.

A rabbi’s ‘bold experiment’ in outreach April 9, 2014

"On a recent Tuesday afternoon, Rabbi Amy Joy Small sat at Rockin’ Joe’s Cafe in Millburn, nursing a cup of tea and uncertain expectations. On her new website and Twitter feed, she invited anyone who cared to to “share your stories, your questions, and your challenges. I’ll share stories and Jewish wisdom along the way.'..."

Free speech just got more expensive April 9, 2014

"Dear Supreme Court justices: When I heard about the McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission ruling, it made me plotz. I’m a rabbi, so I know much more about the Talmud than about torts. But if there’s any group that can compete with scholars of constitutional law, it’s rabbis. Your recent decision was all about the First Amendment and free speech...."

The Wisdom Daily: Who is Crazier – Noah or God? April 9, 2014

" I saw the blockbuster film Noah this past Sunday. Despite the deluge (sorry) of commentary about the film - inevitable for a biblical film in culture war times - I can't resist offering my take. Most of what has been written about Noah has centered on the film's fidelity to the original story, which really means fidelity to the way a particular critic heard the Noah story when he was a child, or the way his particular creedal community understands the story. Watch this segment from The Daily Show as proof..."

New Haggadahs Offer Unique Passover Experience For Every Seder Table April 8, 2014

"Passover is just around the corner and with it comes the ancient tradition of the seder and accompanying Haggadah. The Haggadah guides the ritual meal and commemorates the Jewish exodus from slavery in Egypt. On each of the first two nights of Passover, people gather around the seder table for the 15-step meal and the recitation of the Haggadah..."

Remember for Life Published in Paperback by University of Nebraska Press April 7, 2014

Remember for Life by Rabbi Brad Hirschfield is a compendium of stories of hope from the Holocaust. Now in its second printing and in paperback, we are pleased to let you know that it is available through University of Nebraska Press.
Memory is about choice. We can choose to remember the past in ways that provoke pain and stir our anger, or we can remember in ways that help us create the kind of world in which we most want to live.

The Wisdom Daily: Reconciliation Is a Two-Way Street April 7, 2014

"Think about a time when someone hurt you, and then came seeking forgiveness. How often did you feel that they weren't doing it "right", or in the way you had anticipated, and because of that, you found it impossible to accept their overture? And what about a time when you were the one apologizing, and then finding that your sincere efforts were not accepted? How hurt and angry were you?..."

Passover, Pew and You April 4, 2014


Who are Jewish Americans and what do we believe?

The Pew Portrait Survey offered an answer, and the “experts” have been squabbling ever since. Rather than fighting about what it all means, here’s a way to learn from the survey, enrich your Passover holiday, and quite possibly your life as a whole.



Download the Passover Card as a .pdf file

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