Daily Life


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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Making Your New Year's Resolution... at Thanksgiving

The time-honored American tradition of Thanksgiving is upon us and among the parades, football, and turkey (or maybe Tofurkey),?it begins a much anticipated holiday season. The winter rubric moves us symbolically from thankfulness to joyfulness to hopefulness, and culminates with many feeling inspired to make significant changes in their lives – with a New Year’s resolution. When the clock strikes midnight to welcome 2016, nearly 50% of Americans will make a resolution. However, it’s estimated that only 8% of these people will successfully achieve their resolution. What stops us from completing our......

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Too Much, Too Fast: Why We Need to Pause in Life

One day, I realized I’d never seen a semicolon as part of a tweet, those compact teasers of communication brought to us by Twitter. It made me think differently about the relationship between time and communication, the way time seems to somehow simultaneously shrink and accelerate. Maybe it all started with instant coffee, that powdery brown stuff that had a vague aroma of the real stuff, but no body or flavor. Or maybe it was Minute Rice, which had the same capacity to remind us of what the real stuff was, promising......

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What Makes Thanksgiving the Happiest Day?

Thanksgiving is upon us. Soon, we’ll be shopping for Thanksgiving dinner, buying more than 50 million turkeys and spending more than $2.8 billion at the grocery store. Over 25 million people will hop on an airplane, and millions more will hit the road or board a train, in order to spend Thanksgiving with loved ones. The traveling, shopping, cooking and spending will be worth it as studies indicate that out of all American holidays, Thanksgiving is the one that consistently makes us happy. As the number of Americans who choose not to......

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Is Violence Ever Okay?

Generally speaking, I abhor violence. I’d like to think that if I was an adult back in 1967, I would have joined the Flower Power movement and stuck flowers in the rifles of national guardsmen at the National Mall as a protest of war. For as long as I can remember, I have trusted the wisdom which teaches that one should not meet violence with violence. We should “turn the other cheek.” Nevertheless, a few weeks ago I found myself so taken with a story shared with me where unnecessary violence seemed......

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Why Fewer People Believe In Science

The fact that only 33% of Americans believe in evolution – that according to a Pew survey conducted earlier this year, and in line with past years’ results – may be disturbing enough, but additional research shows that this is just the tip of a much larger, and potentially dangerous iceberg against which our culture is crashing. More and more people reject scientific knowledge as a reasonable basis understanding the world, or for decisions they make about a whole range of political, medical and other fundamentally important issues. Don’t get me wrong,......

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Why It Matters If We Love Conspiracy Theories

The X-Files is returning to TV for a six-part “event,” and even if you’re like me (and have never seen a single episode of the hugely popular 1993-2002 series), its return raises some interesting questions. No, this is not me going all Fox Mulder on you and stirring the pot on some new conspiracy theory. And yes, I know who the show’s Scully and Mulder characters are, even though I never saw the show. I don’t live under a rock! The most serious question it raises for me, and for Public Radio......

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