Does Poverty Destroy Families, or Is it the Demise of Family that Increases Poverty?

We know that the gaps in both earning and in education are widening in America.? A new Ohio State University study by Zhenchao Qian, Divergent Paths of American Families, suggests that the two are closely related: those possessing better educations and greater earnings are more likely to live in two parent stable families, and those with less education and money are less likely to get married, or stay married, and have kids being raised by only one, or even no, parents. The analysis and commentary of the study run toward the assumption......

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Remembering 9/11

I live in New York City. Two friends, including someone at whose wedding I had recently been the rabbi, died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. The acrid smell came through my apartment windows for days and sacred ashes, which I wiped away with tears, fell on my window sills for weeks. That day, my children who were 13 and 10 could not get home from school because the subways were closed. They have grown up in the shadow of 9/11 and the fog of war. The world seems far less......

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The Reward of Regret: Why Looking Back Can Actually Help Us Look Forward

Thank God for regret. Yes, that is right. Regret has become one of my most important sources of wisdom. Though, I can’t yet say I look forward to the inevitable feelings of regret that arise?- when I miss an opportunity or worse, when I do something I am ashamed of?- I can honestly say that regret does not mess me up anymore. Regret seems to be built into our human condition, for none of us lives up to our ideals completely. It isn’t only that we act less well towards others than......

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And the Happiest Nation in the World Is...

No, it’s not Disneyland, though they do issue passports.? The “correct” answer is Denmark, followed in descending order by Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden.? And just to make sure that the likely readers of these thoughts don’t get too depressed by worrying about being at the bottom of the list, Rwanda, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Benin and Togo — all nations in Sub-Saharan Africa – are bottom 5, so no worries there…unless of course you live in one of those countries.? The US?? Number 17.? For added texture, Canada came......

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Not Just Now: Being Smart About 'Present Shock'

If you’re like me, your smartphone has become your boss. More than I care to admit, I am barraged by an onslaught of pings, and I find myself obsessively checking (if not chasing) every text, email, tweet, Facebook status and myriad updates I get throughout the day. Unplugging is the answer for some. But not everyone. I’ll share a coping tip: The book Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now,?by media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, has changed my life. With great insight, the author explores how being always on (always connected) affects our behavior,......

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The Blessing of Desire

One of the keys to a flourishing life is to understand how our desires work. The strange thing about our desires – whether for love, happiness, truth, self-awareness, to be ethical, to be creative – is that our most important desires can never fully be realized once and for all. No matter how much we are loved (or love) we can never really be loved enough (or love enough). No matter how self aware we are we can never (and ought never) banish all self-doubt. However happy we are we will suffer......

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Educating For What?

What is education for?? THAT, it seems to me, is the most important question when it comes to the question of education – and one about which we think to little.? Instead, we fight as a nation about our educational system (as if there is one unified system) “slipping” or worse, “falling apart”.? And in the world of religious or cultural education — be it confirmation classes, Bible school, Hebrew school, or private religious schools – there is endless panic about what’s not working, even though there is precious little clarity about......

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Rosh Hashanah: A Spiritual Wake Up Call

In this video, Rabbi Irwin Kula talks about the significance of Rosh Hashanah; the Shofar calls out to each of us to wake up and attend to our lives, to make sure that we become aware of the other levels of meaning in our lives. The Wisdom of the Holidays series was made possible by a grant from Odyssey Networks. Produced and directed by Diva Communications.? This content originally appeared on clal.org on September 19, 2012....

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Whose Messiah and Who Decides?

The parents of newborn Messiah DeShawn McCullough ended up in family court when they couldn’t agree on what his last name should be. As is so often the case, they got more than they bargained for when they entered the courtroom of Tennessee judge, Lu Ann Balew. The honorable Ms. Balew quickly resolved the issue of family name, and then quickly turned her attention on the baby’s first name.? The child shall hence forth be known as “Martin”, the declared the judge. Why? According to Her Honor, the reason was clear:? the......

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Virtual Dating May Be More Real Than "Real" Dating

As with many other parts of our lives, the line between “real” and “virtual” is becoming increasingly blurry and even down-right misleading.? Can you call something virtual as opposed to real, when the former may lead to something more durable and satisfying?? I don’t see how, and that is exactly the topic of a recent study of marriages which began as on-line relationships vs. those which began in person. According to a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, of couples who got together online, 5.9%......

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