Rabbis Without Borders

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.

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Should Synagogues be Vehicles for Societal Transformation? January 29, 2015

"...our prophetic heritage should compel us to pursue social justice from our congregational platforms. There is a reason we read the Haftarah in addition to the Torah every Shabbat. Judaism mandates conscientiousness both about our internal ritual lives and the values we express publicly. This spirit of societal rebuke and a refusal to accept the status quo is inherent to our tradition.

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Blacks and Jews: Oppression Not the Same January 29, 2015

Rabbi Amy Small in a presentation as part of her recently launched venture, Deborah's Palm, an organization designed to help Jews and fellow travelers access Jewish wisdom for meaningful spiritual living, is quoted as saying:"that despite the similarities characterizing the persecution and subjugation of Jews and blacks throughout history, our oppression was not the same...differences between the two communities’ oppression emerged.

Rabbi Sid Schwarz Led a Service Mission in Haiti with 20 members of Adat Shalom at end of 2014 January 26, 2015

"...Schwarz and 20 congregants returned from a 10-day trip to Haiti in December — the congregation’s third trip in four years to the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. There, they partnered with a pastor and used their bodies and their bank accounts to build houses and provide school tuition for Haitian families, many who had been living under tarps since the devastating 2010 earthquake..."

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Why a Rabbi? Five Aspirations for Rabbinic Life January 23, 2015

"...Understanding the rabbi as energetic capacitor shifts our question about what Jews need in rabbis. A new kind of answer emerges: Jews most need rabbis to the extent that rabbis fulfill their energetic functions. Critically, a rabbi’s title, learning and visible leadership do not alone discharge these energetic functions..."

The Wisdom Daily: The Funny Thing About Taking ‘Charlie Hebdo’ Seriously January 20, 2015

"It is a very serious time in France, especially for the Jewish community. And yet, at the center of the storm is a very unserious entity, the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Its editors may be best known for caricatures of Muhammed (venerated as a prophet by many throughout the world), but they made their living by ridiculing just about anything anyone took seriously, including themselves..."

Climate, Shmita and Consumption January 12, 2015

"There are times when even atheists have trouble denying that there is a “hand of God” at work in history. How else to explain the coincidence of the largest ever gathering of humanity to assemble around the world to highlight the urgency of global action on climate change the week before Rosh haShana 5775, a shmitah (Sabbatical) year..."

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: A Moral Life? Or A Meaningful Life? January 8, 2015

"A few days ago, David Brooks wrote an article entitled “The Problem of Meaning.” In our society today, and especially in more liberal Jewish circles, “meaning” has become a high value. We want our prayer services to be “meaningful,” we want our social justice activities to be “meaningful,” we want our text study to be “meaningful.” But, as Brooks notes, meaning can potentially be very self-centered. It is often less about making our world better and more about making ourselves feel better...."

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Choosing Your Word Wisely January 6, 2015

"Have you already chosen your word for 2015? The word that will focus your attention on what you want to do and who you want to be this year? It’s not too late to choose. New Year’s Eve—the traditional time for making resolutions—was less than one week ago, and many promises made that night have probably been broken by now. I chose my word yesterday, after realizing that it had been on my mind all weekend. I guess I needed a little time to overthink the matter...."

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Hanukkah-Noticing Beauty in Darkness December 23, 2014

"Hanukkah is not just about Maccabees and a tiny jar of oil. No, Hanukkah is about finding hope and beauty despite the darkness of the season. Soon after taking over, the Maccabees were themselves corrupt, murderous, and formed problematic political alliances not so different than that which they fought against. As for the oil – Meh. It doesn’t do much for me. I’m more of a ‘part the seas’ or ‘burning bush’ kinda guy. Call me older fashion. Famously, the the Talmud asks, “Mai Hanukkah”, “what is Hanukkah”?

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Chicago Spiritual Communities Think Outside the Box December 15, 2014

Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann is quoted as saying: “I am part of the generation that demographers are looking at and saying, ‘Oh no, they’re not participating in organized religion. This is the beginning of the end of organized religion in America.' It’s not just happening in Jewish circles. It’s everywhere. But we are spiritually seeking, intellectually seeking.

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