Nurturing rabbis as American religious leaders, Rabbis Without Borders makes Jewish wisdom an available resource to the wider public. For more information about Rabbis Without Borders programs, visit the Rabbis Without Borders site by clicking here.
"...We are about to engage in the emotional, memory-laden, future-seeking time-honored ritual of the annual rerun of our lives. We call it Cheshbon haNefesh – soul searching. Life review. A clearly distinct time set aside for us to look into our past actions and priorities and find there, in living color – just how we did meeting the goals we resolved to last year. What an incredibly powerful act of self-evaluation – and method of determination! A grand exercise of free will to become who we are meant to be!..."
"...we are open and vulnerable to our missteps and willing to admit when we did wrong, but we don’t take time to celebrate our successes and victories. While we ask ourselves where we missed the mark and what aspects of ourselves do we need to improve, we must also ask ourselves, What did we accomplish this past year? When were our successes? When did our spiritual work of self-improvement pay off?..."
"...There are bad decisions, decisions for which information is available to warn us away from certain choices. If we ignore that information, we are culpable for those decisions and must atone. There are good decisions, for which we have knowledge that points us toward the best path. If we use that knowledge to make good decisions and benefit, we are to be congratulated. Sometimes, though, we do the best we can with the information we have, and a decision ends up being to our detriment.
"...Some, though not all anger, is as monumental as the anger that emerged from the Holocaust. Most anger exists on a smaller scale. Sometimes anger is justified and others times not. But in all its forms, anger is an expression of our evil inclination and as such it has great destructive potential. Still it also has the potential for good. Anger can drive us to push for change, to protect ourselves and our communities.
"...There is so much to speak about – pressing issues. And, this is the only time we will have such a large sanctuary; filled to overflowing. Where do the themes of the High Holy Days fit in?..."
By Rabbi Steve Bayar, a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow, from the Rabbis Without Borders Blog on My Jewish Learning.com
"...Oliver Sacks may still feel ambivalent about God and about Judaism, but Shabbat clearly adds a sense of wholeness to his life. And while many scientists are wary of religion, because God is not a provable or testable hypothesis, that’s the wrong way to approach the question. If we are looking for a hypothesis to test, perhaps we should ask, ‘Can this practice enhance my life?’ That’s the true test of what religion can do."
"...Interestingly enough I have found in my rabbinic travels that some of the most powerful people in their respective vocational disciplines….those who have control over so much of the way life works, struggle to maintain a healthy nutritional lifestyle...."
"...After 100 years, it is time for the governor of Georgia and the elected officials of our State Legislature to acknowledge Leo Frank’s innocence. In his eloquent demand for full exoneration, Rabbi Lebow reminds us, ‘Justice is the debt that the present owes the future....’"
"...My granddaughter and I sit down to make something out of clay, and I strike up a conversation with a young mother. She tells me the name of the settlement where she lives. I think to myself – Wow, we’ve done a good job! Who would have expected that a family from there, a community considered to be a hotbed of Jewish religious extremism, is here at our camp, building bridges of understanding and friendship between Palestinian and Israelis..."
"...As we begin the month of Elul, the time when we take account of our hearts, our actions and our responsibilities, it is worth considering that whatever we believe the source of meaning to be, it comes not through pursuing the desires of our hearts and eyes, but through seeking out what is larger than ourselves and contributing to it...."