Tag: Judaism


Can You Learn to Love Navigating Transitions?

When I was the parent of a toddler, I learned that transitions are hard. Toddlers don’t have a clear sense of time, so hearing “the playdate will be over at noon” doesn’t necessarily help them prepare. They may not have much agency in their lives, so acceding to changes may feel like yet another place where they aren’t in control. And they don’t have the life experience to know that everything ends – so to them, every ending is a new heartbreak. Now that my child has grown a few years older,......

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Shelter Me: Faith in an Imperfect World

At this time of year, what is the importance of the sukkah? The temporary shelter stands with a roof made of branches that do not provide a full cover. If it rains, the inside is made unusable and a very strong wind may knock it down. And yet we plan the weeklong autumnal holiday of Sukkot to be spent eating (and in some places, sleeping) under it. The sukkah is also called tzila mehemnuta, or shadow of faith, not just because one has faith that the weather will oblige, but because the......

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Syrian Refugees and the Need for Hope

During celebration of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, the Hebrew greeting L’Shanah Tovah means “for a good year.” But how can we possibly say it will be a good year with a straight face, when the U.N. predicts that the Syrian refugee crisis could escalate by year’s end to 4.27 million people fleeing Syria? After the body of a three-year-old boy, Aylan Kurdi, washed up on a Turkish beach, it seemed that the world finally woke up to the gravity of the humanitarian crisis. However, it would be wrong to chalk......

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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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Ambition, Anticipation and Iran: Our Week in Wisdom

On The Wisdom Daily this week (July 6-10), we discussed tips for being true to yourself when professional pressure intensifies, the upside to anticipating negative outcomes, the bright future of Judaism in the United States despite a less religious populace and the process of furthering Middle East peace. Did you grow wiser this week? We hope The Wisdom Daily played a part.   Authenticity and Ambition: Four Steps to Nurturing Both – Naomi Telushkin Experiencing the world’s most famous film festival was as intense as I’d anticipated when I went to Cannes.......

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Judaism in America: It's (Probably) the End of the World as We Know It

This post originally appeared on Patheos.com: We Jews, however we understand ourselves and our Jewishness, are more integrally linked to the larger American culture in which we live than perhaps any previous generation of diaspora Jews, including past generations of American Jews. We are, like it or not, fully at home here. This is not some 21st-century version of Germany in the early 20th century, or a variation on Spain in the 12th. It’s not even that I don’t believe in Israel. I do, and am proud to call myself a Zionist,......

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A Pop-up Rabbi!

A few weeks back I wrote about how exciting and unnerving it is that, according to a new Pew Report on religion,?institutional religion in America is clearly weakening.?With people mixing, blending and bending their identities – and with spiritual resources increasingly accessible independent of religious institutions and authorities – there are now more Americans religiously unaffiliated than there are members of any denomination! In other words, America’s largest religion is None (or unaffiliated). I suggested that in religion, just as in so many arenas like health, education, music and media, we’re on......

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The Blessing of Being a Child of Holocaust Survivors

On Thursday, Jews across the world commemorate Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day). For survivors, it is a time to pause and recollect. For Jews everywhere, it is a time to affirm that we will never forget. For me, Yom Hashoah is only an accentuation. I am the son of two Holocaust survivors, the grandchild of another survivor and of three grandparents who did not survive. I commemorate the Holocaust every day. Children of survivors live in dual and occasionally dueling realities. On one hand, we did not ourselves witness the horrors of......

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Freedom of Religion: What Does It Mean?

What does religious freedom mean to you? Is it fundamentally about presence, or absence? Let me explain what I mean. Although countless Americans claim to believe in religious freedom, we clearly don’t share a common understanding of what that principle means – as the ongoing disputes, including legal battles in Indiana and Alabama, from pizza shops to florists, demonstrate. The fact that “religious freedom” is difficult to define is not necessarily a bad thing. When it comes to really big, really important principles, the possibility of multiple interpretations and diverse opinions actually......

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Widen Your View and Pay Hope Forward

When you look at the image above, what do you see? What does it make you think? How does it make you feel? When you look in the mirror, what do you see? In each case, what we see, and how we think about these images, can create remarkable opportunities and possibilities for us – if we dare to let it be so. I’m thinking a lot about that as I, along with family, friends and millions of others (not all of them Jewish, by the way) celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish......

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