Spirituality & Faith


A Pop-up Rabbi!

A few weeks back I wrote about how exciting and unnerving it is that, according to a new Pew Report on religion,?institutional religion in America is clearly weakening.?With people mixing, blending and bending their identities – and with spiritual resources increasingly accessible independent of religious institutions and authorities – there are now more Americans religiously unaffiliated than there are members of any denomination! In other words, America’s largest religion is None (or unaffiliated). I suggested that in religion, just as in so many arenas like health, education, music and media, we’re on......

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Explaining Anti-Semitism to My Young Kids

Growing up deep in the rural, isolated Midwest, it’s hard to say what was more foreign to me – Judaism or the ever-elegant, art-filled Paris. Now that I’m middle-aged and living in a big city, I’m well acquainted with both. I first visited Paris on my honeymoon. I was a new convert to Judaism, having completed my study just months before. Seeing Paris’ Museum of Jewish Art and History was as important as visiting the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. I’d never experienced such intense security. An uneasy feeling from the searching,......

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A Family Values Fumble for Reverend Franklin Graham

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: Sounding off about Wells-Fargo’s TV ad depicting two women learning sign language in order to adopt a hearing-impaired child, Rev. Franklin Graham declared his plan to cut ties with the bank by withdrawing his ministry’s funds. He also encouraged his flock to follow suit. But the evangelical leader soon softened his stance (saying he isn’t opposed to the company’s ad being “gay-friendly”), and now, what I find fascinating is watching him wrestle with this issue. “What if all of us were willing to open......

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What Happens to a Person's Soul When They Die?

Recently, a journalist asked me a series of very basic questions about religion. I want to share my answers with you, and I encourage you to share your answers here, with The Wisdom Daily community.   What’s your view on heaven and hell? Heaven and hell are accountability technologies designed to incentivize human beings to do the right thing. As with all technologies, the question is whether they are getting the job done and whether there are new technologies that can be more effective in helping us be better people. I know......

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Your Job's Not Meaningful? Think Again.

We all need something to believe in, don’t we? It doesn’t have to be God, or religion, which is what many assume when they hear the word “believe.” Don’t we all need something (or someone) that helps us to go beyond ourselves – that helps us to find meaning and purpose when it otherwise eludes us? I think most people do. That’s why I was so excited for The Wisdom Daily to feature Elan Babchuck’s recent post about career crossroads, “Selling Something to Believe In.” I hope today’s post, expanding on Elan’s,......

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The Push-and-Pull Over the Meaning of Marriage

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: While the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was presiding over a same-sex wedding this week, the evangelical Christian leader Reverend Franklin Graham was online urging his entire flock to pray for the justices to rule against marriage equality. Just as I think it’s important to remember that our nation’s laws are not meant to adhere to religious laws, it would be helpful when we invoke God if we remember that “the will of the eternal, as expressed to different people in different......

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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......

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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......

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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......

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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......

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