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 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?..."
"...When we recognize the symbolic nature of most of our Holy Days (and this holds true for American national holidays too, such as Thanksgiving or July 4th), it turns out that we might better sustain the power of memory of the Holocaust if we become more effective at communicating the emotional significance of such human wickedness and suffering.
Rabbi Rebecca Sirbu, Director of Rabbis Without Borders at Clal, published a story "The Rabbi with Purple Hair" in a book titled, I am Here: The Untold Stories of Everday People which is a collection of true stories that will take you into the secret lives of the people living all around you. Their hopes, fears, victories and failures. Their sorrows, lessons learned, and inspiration to keep going, no matter what.
To purchase the book, visit Amazon.com...
Why Do People Do Bad (and Good) Things? That’s the focus of the Sinai and Synapses Discussion Forum. Rabbi Geoff Mitelman has gathered some of the most interesting articles on the topic. This week he includes an article on What Happens in the Brain When People Kill, Columnist David Brooks' The Moral Bucket List and others.
"...Still I’m not ready to let go of the counting. The simple ritual of numbering the nights and then the weeks from Passover to Shavuot, is a reminder that liberation is not just an end in and of itself but also a beginning. At Passover we celebrate the ability to break free of that, which enslaves us.
We all have our burdens. And Passover celebrates the idea of being able to miraculously free ourselves from those burdens. But it is never that simple. Liberation takes work. "
"...even when we commit to a path of liberation, it can only unfold in each of our unique bodies and minds, with all their habits and imperfections. This work is slow, and like all holy work, requires of us three things: that we reach for the ground before leaping toward the sky, that we engage in the holy act of nourishing our bodies in community—and mostly, that we remember the simple and holy work of numbering our days."
"Like most New York Jews, I love “The Daily Show,” and so I was very sad to hear that Jon Stewart would be moving on. This past Monday morning, Comedy Central announced 31-year-old Trevor Noah as The Daily Show’s next host, and I thought, “OK, I don’t know him or his comedy all that well, but good for him. I hope he does well.” But by Tuesday afternoon, I had very different feelings..."
"...The theological quandary of eschatology...the question of what happens to us after we die has puzzled theologians and laypeople alike for millennia. I happen to believe strongly in the idea of an afterlife. When I have the sad occasion/privilege of witnessing death, I have no doubt that our bodies are mere capsules for our souls. Our souls are truly what give each of us our unique gleam and charm.
"...Soon we’ll sit around our tables turning toward one another as we re-tell our sacred story by way of questions and answers exchanged between the generations of our families and community. The mitzvah of the Seder is to teach and learn from all who are present at our tables, all the archetypes and all the paths of Torah we represent. We contribute our divergent perspectives so that we can collectively envision the biblical redemption as relevant to us, here and now..."