Tag: Conflict


Connecting and Resolving Conflict: Inspired by Dance

I counsel individuals of all ages as they struggle in their relationships with friends, partners, and family members. It goes with the territory when one is a rabbi. The people I counsel often have become attached to avoiding conflict, so when conflicts arise in their relationships – as they inevitably do – they are quick to interpret them as potentially catastrophic. They need their interactions to look a particular way in order to feel loved. Our bodies can teach us about these dynamics. In the “Contact Improvisation”?video below, dancers maintain a point......

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Student Activism at Yale: Rethinking What Is Worthy of Our Outrage

Are you following the drama of the costume scandal transpiring at Yale University? I don’t know whether to laugh or cry but something is off on our campuses. Here is the story in a nutshell. Thirteen Yale administrators co-signed a pre-Halloween letter, advising students on how to dress for Halloween so as not to offend their fellow students. The committee’s email acknowledged that students “definitely have a right to express themselves,” but hoped they would “actively avoid those circumstances that threaten our sense of community or disrespects, alienates or ridicules segments of......

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Unlocking Hearts and Minds on Rosh Hashanah

More people will be in synagogues in the coming days that at any other point in the year. And because of demographic realities, an increasing number of them won’t even be Jewish. They will all be there, but what will they be hearing? Let’s put it this way: Will there be any synagogue congregations in America this Rosh Hashanah not abuzz with conversation about the upcoming vote on the Iran deal? And from how many pulpits will those in synagogue not hear at least one sermon on the topic? Based on reports......

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Stranger Danger, Cultural Context and a Sniper Saga: Our Week in Wisdom

On The Wisdom Daily this week (February 16-20), we looked at an American hero’s morally ambiguous story, the debate about disarming Iran, and what happened when witnesses ignored a train-station tragedy. Many thanks to guest writer Ruth Abusch-Magder, whose post placed recent French antisemitism into historical context. Did you grow wiser this week? We hope The Wisdom Daily played a part.   Netanyahu, Congress and the Importance of Fierce Debate – Irwin Kula Despite all the controversy surrounding House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress about......

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Netanyahu, Congress and the Importance of Fierce Debate

Despite all the controversy surrounding House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress about the dangers of Iran, I think the Prime Minister should indeed come and make his case. It does appear that the Obama administration was not informed in advance about the speech. On Fox News, Boehner said he asked the Israeli Ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, not to inform the White House about Netanyahu’s visit to Congress, in order to avoid “interference.” But the breach in protocol and the specter of personal insults ought......

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A New Year's Challenge: Connecting While Disagreeing

What resolution can we make as we begin 2015 that would have the greatest impact on our personal and public lives? I found my answer reading a remarkable interview in the new Smithsonian magazine of the civil rights historian Taylor Branch, whose three-volume, 2,500-page chronicle, America in the King Years, is a landmark biography in American history. In the article – filled with fascinating insights about Martin Luther King Jr. and his doctrine of nonviolence – Branch tells an extraordinary story about three Freedom Riders, Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney.......

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Science Is Not the Opposite of Religion

John Lennon had it right when he sang, “Imagine no religion.” Let me explain. According to a recent study from the Public Religion Research Institute, 41% of Americans either completely disagree (27%) or mostly disagree (14%) with this statement: “Evolution is the best explanation for the origins of human life on Earth.” Surprised? Disturbed? I’m not surprised, but I am disturbed – though perhaps for reasons you might not expect. I’m not surprised because in this country we remain a nation of believers, and most of those believers are regularly subjected to......

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Lincoln's Words of Wisdom on Bridging Our Divides

We have come to learn over the past few years that elections, as critical as they are, do not ensure a healthy democratic society. Citizens who are committed to freedom and a public culture with institutions that enable deliberative conversations and political compromise make real the promise of democracy implied by free elections. We face the future with the same, if not greater, political dysfunction and cultural polarization than we had before the latest votes were cast. A recent Pew survey showed that, increasingly, conservatives and liberals tend not to reside in......

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Conflict Kitchen: Eating Our Way to Understanding

Do you realize how little we know about the countries with which we’re in conflict? Outside of the polarizing rhetoric of politicians and the narrow lens of media headlines, what do we know about countries we consider our enemies? An eatery in Pittsburgh has an innovative and savory way of addressing this. Conflict Kitchen, a takeout restaurant opened by artists Jon Rubin and Dawn Weleski, only serves food from countries the United States is in conflict with. Operating seven days a week, the restaurant rotates its menu – and its design scheme......

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Redskins and Apaches Are Not the Same, Or How to Stop Undermining Ourselves

When I wrote last week about the dust up over the Washington Redskins’ name, I really thought it was a “one and done” kind of deal. I wrote about why I hope the name is changed – it’s at least potentially hurtful, and may be genuinely ugly. I also wrote about why legally compelling the team to do so, might be a sub-optimal solution because of free speech issues. I really thought that was it, at least until I read “The U.S. military’s ongoing slur of Native Americans” in the Washington Post.......

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