Video: Brad Hirschfield on Nairobi, Peshawar, and the Simchat Torah

From Odyssey Network’s Faith on the Record series: “This week saw two horrific acts of violence – a suicide bombing of a Christian church in Peshawar, Pakistan and the siege at an upscale mall Nairobi, Kenya – which left hundreds of people dead and injured.? Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, President of CLAL, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, reflects on these events through the lens of Simchat Torah, the Jewish celebration of the end of the annual reading of the Torah and the beginning of a new cycle of reading the......

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3D Character Printing: Building Better People

Imagine a gathering of over ?”400 innovators, troublemakers, entrepreneurs inventors and transformation artists” where for a couple of days, thirty-two story-tellers from around the world from every field share their wisdom. ?Well this is BIF#9, the BIF Summit in Providence, Rhode Island – and I was as one of the storytellers. ?It was crazy, inspiring, creative, playful, purposeful and safe – a holy secular place at its best! Sitting there listening to amazing innovators (see this installment of Week in Wisdom) and engaging in conversations about identifying better ways to deliver value......

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Why Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Grandchildren Give Him Hope

On Monday night I had the honor of being at a dinner at the Plaza Hotel in NYC hosted by The S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace billed as a “conversation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jewish American Leadership.”? About fifty people attended: Palestinian leadership, American political leadership including Martin Indyk, Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations, and former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, Jewish organizational leaders, and American Jewish notables including Professors Alan Dershowitz and Daniel Kahneman, Noble Prize recipient, and Abby Joseph Cohen of Goldman Sachs. The meeting......

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How Would You Choose Your Last Supper?

If you found yourself in a position to make the choice, what would you choose to have for your final meal?? It’s an interesting question for any number of reasons, not only because it gets you thinking about what foods you love most, but about how we think about food, and the deep connections between what’s on our plates and what’s in our hearts. Last Meals, a recent article in Lapham’s Quarterly, got me thinking – yet again – about this question, and pointed me toward an oddly fascinating blog called Dead......

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Seeking Meaning in the Wake of Tragedy

Does it make sense to blame devastating floods in CO on the fact that State House Majority Leader Mark Ferrandino and his partner were kissing in public, and that the Denver Post covered their kiss?? Pastor Kevin Swanson certainly thinks so, and so did his radio co-host Dave Buehner.? Could they be onto something? Now before anyone starts screaming; let me explain what I mean, and why I think it may be useful to take their question seriously, even if I find their conclusion pretty much repulsive. I start from the premise......

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Why We Love Science

Which one of these sites would you more likely visit??Science is Awesome or I Fucking Love Science? Now, be honest. Well, It turns out these two sites are identical and are curated by the Canada-based self-made social media celebrity, Elise Andrew who recently was a guest speaker for close to one thousand ticket buyers at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC . According to Facebook, as of today the site Science is Awesome has 533,404 likes and 188,089 talking about this while the less elegantly titled site has 6,920,076 likes......

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Finding Your Path to Spirituality

When you think about what it means to be spiritual, find spirituality, or anything remotely approximating those experiences, what do you think of? Do you find your attention turning to experiences and images of relative solitude? Of solitary walks on the beach or perhaps, lonely mountain peaks? That is certainly one spiritual type. But not the only one. Perhaps, when you think of being spiritual, you imagine yourself amidst raucous crowds, at home in messy scenes replete with food and wine and loud singing. Do you find that your most spirited moments......

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Trading Technology for Top Teachers Isn't the Answer

They say that doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting a different result, is the definition of insanity.? “They” are not always right, but when it comes to how we spend money on public education in this country, they may be. We spend a great deal of money on education in this country – both in total, and on a per student basis – and over the last 40 years, that number has doubled.? With all that, we are not getting the results we need and kids are not......

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Syria Action: Moral Progress?

Keeping track of the Syria crisis these past couple of weeks has one’s head spinning. In a span of days we have seen the following: The President unilaterally ordering the bombing of Syria for crossing the red line of using chemical weapons, The President delaying military action, ceding presidential power and seeking approval from Congress, The American people?- tired after the failures of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya?- decisively rejecting military involvement, The President on the brink of not getting approval from Congress, Secretary Kerry’s offhand remark about Syria getting rid of all......

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Yom Kippur: The Truth About One's Truths

Yom Kippur is the most sacred day in the Jewish calendar. Simply put, it is a day-long exercise in Reality Therapy. For 25 hours or so, the practice is to neither eat nor drink, nor make love, nor enjoy the comforts and conveniences of life – be it a shower or a smart phone – but to reflect and contemplate our mortality, to feel deeply there is no guarantee that we (or anyone in our life) will even be here tomorrow, to be on our deathbed but be fully conscious. Have you......

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