Daily Life


Why Is Downton Abbey So Popular?

I don’t often watch Downton Abbey (truth be told, I only watched ten minutes of it one time), but the frenzy over the start of what is to be the final season of this popular TV series has me thinking. Why is it so popular? It’s an artificial world, a dramatic fantasy. Yes, the costumes are charming and the plot similar enough to a soap opera to keep people tuning in. But I think there’s something else contributing to it’s appeal, something that is lacking in much of public discourse: civility. The......

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6 Life Lessons From Wide Receiver, Ryan Broyles

I don’t think I’ve ever written about money before — certainly not for The Wisdom Daily — and not so often about sports either, but today I am writing about both. When I discovered the story of NFL wide receiver, Ryan Broyles, I felt like I had no choice, in the best and most inspiring sense of the word. His story speaks to me as a husband, father, worker, employer, and perhaps most transparently, as one who values financial responsibility while trying not to let “responsibility” become a code word for worrying......

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Ask Yourself "What Do I Yearn For?"

We sat facing each other, two women who were reasonably friendly but by no means intimate. We were enrolled in a spiritual direction training program together, and this was our first week of class. Our task in this moment was to ask each other one simple question: what do you yearn for? My partner asked me, and I had a ready answer. I had just learned that I was pregnant, and the yearning at the top of my consciousness was to be a good mother. So that’s what I said. Then she......

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Every Story is Unique... and the Same

Go to any wedding, and in many ways, you will hear the same phrases: “They are so good together.” “They’re such a cute couple!” Or at a funeral, you’re likely to hear how much that person loved their family and was dedicated to their work.?So is every funeral or every wedding nearly identical??Of course not. Each person has their own story, their own journey. But why is it that we tend to hear the same stories over and over in different contexts? Recently, Wharton Professor Adam Grant wrote a piece in the......

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Shining a Light on Being Too Tired to Care

Bombarded with news stories of gun violence, and racist and Islamophobic rhetoric from politicians, I’ve begun to notice a numbness overtaking me. It’s a natural response to move away from pain, as from a hot flame. But even when I turn off the radio, or avoid reading official news sources, the pain of the world trickles into my social media feeds. Ideally, I want this pain to move me to act for change, but have begun to feel overwhelmed, to shut down. According to Dr. Joan Cook at Yale University, those of......

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Is Putting Your Needs First Okay?

We all know these words: “To buckle your seatbelt, insert the metal buckle into the flap and pull. In the event of loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop down. Even though oxygen is flowing, the plastic bag will not inflate. If you are traveling with a child, fasten your own mask before tending to the child’s…” Fasten your own mask before tending to the child’s… It makes sense. If I were traveling with a small child and there were a need for oxygen, and I tried to fasten their mask......

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Will 'Giving Tuesday' Get the Same Attention as 'Black Friday'?

“What? Am I boring you?” I asked, as my friend’s eyes wandered around his living room where we sat on the couch catching up last month. “Oh, sorry. I’m just looking around the room and thinking about what’s broken, or might break soon. Or what’s missing in the room. Or…” “Why? It’s a beautiful living room in a beautiful house. What’s the problem?” I asked. “Nothing’s the problem, really. But every year when the calendar turns to November, with Black Friday coming up, I always go through this exercise of sitting in......

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Is Any Holy Book Worth $100,000?

If you suddenly had an extra $100,000, what would you do with it? Would you pay off outstanding debts for education or on your credit cards? How about getting out from under your mortgage? Gifts to those you love? Save for the future or give to causes in which you believe? Good arguments can be made for all of those, but now let’s shake up this little thought experiment with a story from this week’s news. Calvary hospital in the Bronx has been permanently loaned a 19th century Czech Torah scroll that......

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What Our Most Used Words Say About Us

Every so often, people’s Facebook feeds explode with a new viral sensation — a personality quiz, an ice-bucket challenge, a changed profile background. The most recent fad is a quiz to let you see a word cloud of your “most used words on Facebook.” On one level, it’s a little bit odd. After all, we had already decided what we posted and how we phrased it. (A note of caution – if you decide to try the quiz, it requires you to give access to a lot of information.) We got to......

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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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