News & Politics


Stolen Wisdom, Shattered Trust

I was raised by two teachers. My parents taught me to respect and trust authority; to question with appreciation and understanding for those before whom I stood. They also taught me to be wary and discerning of people who might hurt or take advantage of me. Sadly, recent news reports have revealed chilling stories of clergy allegedly using their positions of power to sexually abuse members of their flock. Even as my parents cautioned me about the danger that might lurk in any human being, they stressed that in order to progress......

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Should a Public School Coach Be Praying With Players?

Which does the U.S. Constitution guarantee – freedom of religion, or freedom from it? The short answer (as with so many constitutional issues) is: It depends. Contextualism and the ongoing ability to interpret the document are two of its greatest strengths, helping assure its durability and relevance. There are settings where an enforced absence of public religious expression is required (bans on prayer in public school classrooms); other situations allow for religious expression, as long as all religious sensibilities are respected (wearing a cross, a yarmulke, a hijab or whatever religious symbols/clothing......

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A Good Point About Shifting Blame

Over the past few weeks, Arab terrorists have launched a wave of bloody violence against Jewish Israelis unparalleled since the Second Intifada. Of course, this recent violence did not erupt devoid of context. Decades of moral failings on both sides of the conflict have indeed created fertile conditions for fear and anger to fester. At the same time, with a desire to demonstrate awareness of that context, and a well-meaning urge to express sensitivity to the concerns of all parties involved, it seems some have come to the conclusion that this murderous......

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Breaking America's Addiction to Guns

One shoe bomb attempt and we all have to take off our shoes at the airport… A failed liquid-bomb attempt results in restrictions on bringing 4 oz. of opened shampoo onto planes… A child drowns in a pool and legislation passes requiring pools be fenced in… But an average of 300 shootings every day in America, plus, just in the years since Newtown nearly 150 school shootings and nearly 1,000 mass shootings (four or more people shot in one attack) – not to mention more than 20,000 gun-inflicted suicides, more than 11,000......

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When Religion Disrupts the Secular Workday

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: After all the headlines about the county clerk jailed for refusing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Kentucky, a flight attendant named Charee Stanley has now made news for refusing to serve alcohol to airplane passengers. Her claim is that as a devout Muslim, her religion forbids her to perform that task. But where is the religious freedom movement to support her? “If you intuitively stand with one, why don’t you stand with the other just as much since each is looking for accommodation......

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Is 'Beginner's Mind' Helpful in Reducing Gun Violence?

The brazen shooting near Roanoke, Va., that killed local TV reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, during an early morning on-air interview with Vicki Gardner (who was critically wounded) immediately evoked all the conventional tropes in our national discourse. There was widespread hand-wringing about easy access to firearms and the need for tougher gun regulations. We heard the calls for more mental health care and our NRA “wisdom” reminder: guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Aren’t we tired of this endless loop? Here’s an experiment. Let’s bring “beginners’......

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Imprisoned by Insecurity

Today, although I’m writing about Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker, and indeed I’m writing about border security, this post is not about politics. It’s about how our search for most any kind of security – be it national, cultural or personal – can actually make us increasingly insecure. Over the weekend, Walker spoke about citizens having “legitimate concerns” about security along the U.S. border with Canada; he called the idea of building a fence along our northern border (along with the wall he supports building across our border with Mexico) “something to......

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Trump: How He Mastered Media Spin by Fixing an Ice Rink

We best understand the world through compelling narratives. Here’s one that helps us process the phenomenon known as Trump for President: Once upon a time there was an ice skating rink in Central Park that could no longer make ice. No one could figure out how to fix the skating rink. Years went by and millions of dollars were spent and still no ice. One day a white knight wearing a bright red tie showed up and said: “Let there be ice!” Four months later there was ice. When asked by the......

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Heroics on a Train Yield Lessons in Courage

What’s your definition of a hero? Of course, there are lots of ways to describe heroes and acts of heroism, but today, three names really stand out: Stone, Sadler and Skarlatos. Like so many others, I watched the recent media reports as Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos described taking down a heavily armed gunman with help from other passengers (Chris Norman of the U.K. and Mark Moogalian of France) aboard a train full of people headed from Amsterdam to Paris. All three young Americans were remarkably modest and unassuming in......

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Reading President Obama and the Iran Deal, From the Bottom Up

Whether you support President Obama and the deal with Iran, oppose it, are genuinely uncertain about where you stand, or even if you are just plain tired of the ongoing debate about it, I have an article for you. Former Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, and long-time communal leader Alan Solow, a friend, counselor and board member of Clal, publisher of The Wisdom Daily, wrote an opinion piece for JTA, which is worth the few short minutes it will take you to read. It will actually make......

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