Religious freedom is in the news again, as Israelis rebel against rules about where and how women can pray. This week, some praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem reacted violently when members of the Women of the Wall advocacy group defied traditional (gender-based) restrictions on public expressions of faith. An angry riot reportedly ensued among the ultra-Orthodox witnesses, and Rabbi Hirschfield thought about this: "Why would people behave that way? What was going on? Where does love of your fellow Jew, also a tradition, factor into their thinking?" For more, watch the Faith on the Record video below.
From Odyssey Networks’ FAITH ON THE RECORD
Andrew Hahn, The Kirtan Rabbi, offers three sessions at the Jewish Wisdom and Wellness Festival of Learning from April 29 to May 1, 2015.
Wednesday, April 29 - The Mysterious Healing Power of the Mourners’ Kaddish: Heart, Song and Word. Go deep into the power of the Mourner's Kaddish through meditation, chanting and text study. More information and a video may be found at Jewish Wisdom and Wellness....
Thursday, April 30 - Tai Chi Prayer: Techiyat ha-Meitim and the Tailbone. Get your Chi/ruach on! In this Jewish tai chi class, learn how proper attention to the tailbone and spine is crucial to health, longevity and energy. Information and a video may found may be found at Jewish Wisdom and Wellness....
Friday, May 1 - Kabbalat Shabbat Healing Service. The Kirtan Rabbi joins with Rabbi Neil Commess-Daniels and Cantor Diane Rose for a restorative and balancing service based in music, chant, dance and meditation. Information and a video may be found at Jewish Wisdom and Wellness....
In celebration of the new album, Kirtan Rabbi: Nondual, Rabbi Andrew Hahn is making his first appearance at Craig Taubman’s Pico Union Project in downtown L. A. on Saturday, May 2, 2015 at 9:00pm. The evening features the Kirtan Rabbi with Bibi McGill Beyoncé's lead guitarist), Deanna Neil, Jeff Stern, Ethan Phillips, Zack Lodmer of OmShalom Yoga and others to be announced.
"...At this complex moment in Israel-diaspora relations, service is an approach that deserves focused attention. Unprecedented numbers of young Jews are coming of age with deep questions about Israel, and many of them are unlikely to walk through the doors of any institutions in our existing communal infrastructure, like Hillels, AIPAC, or Jewish Federations. However, if we provide Next Gen Jews with ways to come to Israel to live out their values, we may be able to connect them to their Jewish identity in a different way. Next Gen Jews strongly identify as global citizens. Thousands of them travel all over the developing world with dozens of emerging new programs that give them a chance to help at-risk populations. It is critical that we provide such opportunities in Israel as well, and Yahel was created to do just that..."
"... Now if you think that Israel is perfect, think again. Of course very few people actually think that, and yet they love the place nonetheless. Wonder why? Re-read the list. And if you think Israel is a disaster, think again, as well. It's always easier to make our love - or our hate for that matter - contingent on a simplistic, "all or nothing at all" approach. But while it's easier, it's almost never wiser..."
"...We often think of sacrifice as something unpleasant in the short-term, but deeply rewarding in the long-term. Yet we forget that a sense of sacrifice can be used both for good and for evil. Indeed, it's important to remember that very rarely do people view themselves or their actions as evil. Rather, most people see themselves as righteous and good human beings..."
"...But I also think there is a deep lesson we, as American Jews, can draw from Yom Hazikaron. The force that makes Yom Hazikaron so powerful to Israelis is its existentialilty, its visceral nature. What if we were to begin to treat the Jewish holidays here in the same way? What if we were to teach and celebrate Hanukkah, Purim, and other core Jewish holidays not as (quasi-)historical remnants of our tradition but as living, breathing embodiments of our present-day Jewish identity?..."
"...(Brad) Hirschfield said in order for reparations to be made between the women's group and the ultra-Orthodox community, both sides will need to make compromises — and he believes there is reason for hope.
"I think we could find some common ground," he said. "How do you factor in the love of a fellow co-religionist so whatever outrage you feel could be expressed with less hostility and violence? That's the first place to start."
This week former NFL player Aaron Hernandez was convicted of murder and sentenced to life without parole. "Was justice served?" asks Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, president of Clal and co-founder and executive editor of TheWisdomDaily.com. And "does it matter if you believe in the possibility of forgiveness, salvation, redemption or human change?"
From Odyssey Networks’ FAITH ON THE RECORD
"...Children of survivors live in dual and occasionally dueling realities. On one hand, we did not ourselves witness the horrors of that time. There are some things we cannot know and we cannot feel. On the other hand, our knowledge of what happened to our families is so intimate that our senses - of suffering, pain, and fear - are exceptionally heightened.