Spirituality & Faith


We Are Originals

Recently, I read about a fascinating psychological study conducted by Angelika Seidel and Jesse Prinz of CUNY (the City University of New York). Participants were told to imagine that the Mona Lisa had been destroyed in a fire, but that there happened to be a perfect copy – one that even experts couldn’t tell from the original. Then, subjects in the study were asked: If they could see just one or the other, would they rather see the ashes of Leonardo da Vinci’s original Mona Lisa, or the absolutely flawless duplicate? Eighty......

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Video: Brad Hirschfield on Nairobi, Peshawar, and the Simchat Torah

From Odyssey Network’s Faith on the Record series: “This week saw two horrific acts of violence – a suicide bombing of a Christian church in Peshawar, Pakistan and the siege at an upscale mall Nairobi, Kenya – which left hundreds of people dead and injured.? Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, President of CLAL, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, reflects on these events through the lens of Simchat Torah, the Jewish celebration of the end of the annual reading of the Torah and the beginning of a new cycle of reading the......

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Finding Your Path to Spirituality

When you think about what it means to be spiritual, find spirituality, or anything remotely approximating those experiences, what do you think of? Do you find your attention turning to experiences and images of relative solitude? Of solitary walks on the beach or perhaps, lonely mountain peaks? That is certainly one spiritual type. But not the only one. Perhaps, when you think of being spiritual, you imagine yourself amidst raucous crowds, at home in messy scenes replete with food and wine and loud singing. Do you find that your most spirited moments......

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Yom Kippur: The Truth About One's Truths

Yom Kippur is the most sacred day in the Jewish calendar. Simply put, it is a day-long exercise in Reality Therapy. For 25 hours or so, the practice is to neither eat nor drink, nor make love, nor enjoy the comforts and conveniences of life – be it a shower or a smart phone – but to reflect and contemplate our mortality, to feel deeply there is no guarantee that we (or anyone in our life) will even be here tomorrow, to be on our deathbed but be fully conscious. Have you......

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Remembering 9/11

I live in New York City. Two friends, including someone at whose wedding I had recently been the rabbi, died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. The acrid smell came through my apartment windows for days and sacred ashes, which I wiped away with tears, fell on my window sills for weeks. That day, my children who were 13 and 10 could not get home from school because the subways were closed. They have grown up in the shadow of 9/11 and the fog of war. The world seems far less......

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Rosh Hashanah: A Spiritual Wake Up Call

In this video, Rabbi Irwin Kula talks about the significance of Rosh Hashanah; the Shofar calls out to each of us to wake up and attend to our lives, to make sure that we become aware of the other levels of meaning in our lives. The Wisdom of the Holidays series was made possible by a grant from Odyssey Networks. Produced and directed by Diva Communications.? This content originally appeared on clal.org on September 19, 2012....

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Thinking About 'God the Father' on Father's Day

The notion of God the father (or God as father) can be found in many traditions. Central to many Christian theologies, and often present in Jewish liturgy, the idea invites many possibilities – not all of them necessarily positive, but all especially powerful when we celebrate Father’s Day. I’m not suggesting that people bring Father’s Day cards to church or synagogue in the way that children send letters to Santa at the North Pole. I do however think that – in addition to being a time to focus on how well we......

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Getting the Most Out of Christmas When You're Not Christian

Rabbi Brad Hirschfield shares with Rev. Welton Gaddy his experience navigating Christmas while being Jewish in America and his thoughts on a deeper shared sense of purpose this time of year. Listen here. With Rev. Welton Gaddy from State of Belief, December 22, 2012.? This content originally appeared on clal.org on December 22, 2012....

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