Tag: Religion


Entrepreneurs, Jurors and 'Nones': Our Week in Wisdom

On The Wisdom Daily this week (May 11 – May 15), we discussed?the trial of the Boston Marathon bomber, the new Pew survey documenting an increase among Americans who don’t affiliate with a religion, the phenomenon of social entrepreneurship and its power to accelerate problem-solving, and the search for explanations after another Amtrak derailment. Did you grow wiser this week? We hope The Wisdom Daily played a part.   Should the Boston Bomber Be Executed? – Brad Hirschfield The defense has rested, and now 12 people will decide whether to send the......

Continue Reading


Can Social Entrepreneurs Repair the World?

This week, I attended a meeting at my synagogue hosted by my rabbi, Elan Babchuck, featuring Irwin Kula – one of his mentors, and a national thought leader about the nature of contemporary religion. I don’t read most announcements I’m sent about events, because I don’t have them on my radar as things I’d generally consider attending. In this case, Elan invited me personally, and the title “Disruptive Spiritual Innovation” was certainly intriguing. Elan shared that his goal for the meeting was to understand national trends facing organized religion, and to consider......

Continue Reading


A Turning Point for Faith in America?

Across the U.S., people are talking about the latest in religious news: According to research, numbers keep trending down among the most popular sects of institutional Christianity in America. Many wonder what this means about the role of faith in our communities and our private lives. While I believe atheism is not on the rise, and interest among individuals who seek spiritual fulfillment remains as vibrant as ever, the upshot is this: “If you believe in tradition, figure out how to use it in new and creative ways.” Watch my recent appearance......

Continue Reading


New Research: Christianity on Decline

The trend continues: According to a large survey conducted last year by Pew Research, Christianity is on the decline in America across every race, gender, age, education level and geographic region. The percentage of adults who describe themselves as Christians dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years (2007-2014) to about 71 percent. At the same time, as reported in Pew’s survey results, the share of those who are not affiliated with a religion has jumped from 16 percent to about 23 percent, with millennials becoming even less affiliated with......

Continue Reading


Hope, Harm and Honesty: Our Week in Wisdom

On The Wisdom Daily this week (May 4 – May 8), we discussed the enduring outrage and inequality so evident in Baltimore, the refreshing candor of a reformed racist, the illusion of words being “harmless” because we want them to be, the brave gender transition of a famous American icon and the “Deflate-gate” scandal in the NFL. Did you grow wiser this week? We hope The Wisdom Daily played a part.   Words of Hope and Action, Inspired by Baltimore – and Amy Grant – Brad Hirschfield Maryland’s governor, Larry Hogan, has......

Continue Reading


How Does Disruptive Innovation Help Sacred Communities?

There was an unlikely group of guests at last month’s Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards: ten rabbis. This cohort (of which I was fortunate to be a part) was present through the Rabbis Without Borders program of Clal. As one of the few clergy among the attendees, there was an unspoken, but invaluable, question for me: Can religious communities survive disruptive innovation? Perhaps ironically, our very presence as standard-bearers of a religion that predates the Bronze Age was itself disruptive to the 800 participants, largely from across high tech, financial, governmental, and entrepreneurial......

Continue Reading


Celebrate Ideas that Break the Mold

So there I was last Friday morning on stage, about to smash a glass in front of hundreds of people. But this was no wedding. It was part of an opening ceremony at the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, which are sort of like MTV’s VMAs, but with a red hammer instead of a moon man. The awards celebrate “those whose ideas have broken the mold to create significant impact.”? Winners present that morning included Shane Smith of Vice Media, Bill Simmons of Grantland, Brad Katsuyama of IEX, Reshma Saujani of Girls Who......

Continue Reading


The Violent Reaction to Women of the Wall

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: Religious freedom is in the news again, as Israelis rebel against rules about where and how women can pray. This week, some at the Western Wall in Jerusalem reacted violently when members of the advocacy group Women of the Wall defied traditional (gender-based) restrictions on public expressions of faith. An angry riot reportedly ensued among the ultra-Orthodox witnesses, and I thought about this: “Why would people behave that way? What was going on? Where does love of your fellow Jew, also a tradition, factor......

Continue Reading


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......

Continue Reading


Why We Should Be Talking About Religious Freedom

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series:?Lawmakers in Indiana and Alabama are facing a firestorm after they enacted new legislation around religious freedoms, which critics say is designed to discriminate against LGBT citizens. In contentious debates, there has got to be for all of our sakes, a way to combine passionate advocacy with spiritual and intellectual humility. Not paralysis, not silence, but genuine humility that recognizes the dignity of those on the other side. For more on why it’s important to talk about this issue, watch my video discussion ?below: Odyssey......

Continue Reading