Category Archives: Community Blog

Community Blog leora-150

Welcoming the new academic year

I recently asked a group of interfaith clergy, “Do you ever find yourself responding to needs that people have not exactly articulated, but that you notice?” I was surprised by how affirmatively they answered, and it got me thinking about how hard it really is to articulate our spiritual needs. Just learning to recognize them is deep work. Figuring out how to name them, how to give them voice through… Read Article →

Community Blog Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

While Standing on One Foot: A Compassion Practice

I have spent the last week grieving privately. Horrified — nauseated, actually — by the two murders that took place in Israel last week. The first victim: Shira Banki, a 16-year-old girl, stabbed by an ultra-Orthodox Jew at the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem last week. She succumbed to her wounds this past Sunday morning.  Five other young people were injured in the attack. The second victim: Ali Dawabsheh, an 18-month-old from a Palestinian village… Read Article →

Community Blog haberman

Remembering Bonna Devora Haberman

Bonna Devora Haberman, who tragically passed away from cancer last week, was a profoundly powerful personality. She had the uncanny capacity to contain seemingly contradictory qualities with a distinctive grace, elegance and whole-heartedness. She was deeply rooted in Jewish texts, language and thought, and yet professed a radical vision of social, political and religious transformation based on feminism, egalitarianism and social justice. She had the very sharp and focused critical… Read Article →

Community Blog Aaron Lichtenstein

A Memory of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, z”l

I have a very poignant memory of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, a great rabbinic leader of modern Orthodoxy, who passed away today in Israel. I had the privilege of studying with Rav Lichtenstein for a brief period in Jerusalem as part of my rabbinical school studies, but my favorite memory of him came from an occurrence a few years earlier. I was an undergraduate at Yeshiva University in Manhattan. Late one… Read Article →

Community Blog Building Image 9

How Hebrew College Helped Me Advance in My Career

Three years ago, I was stuck. I had topped out at my job, unable to grow professionally without a degree in Jewish education. I have always been passionate about Jewish education, and wanted to do more, and to find a way to make a real impact on the field. I saw how my amazing colleagues, who had the education I wanted, would write articles, present at conferences, lead schools and… Read Article →

Community Blog mayim hayim

Make a Big Mess and Play with Everything and Other Educational Models

Nine of us crowded around the mikveh.  I sat on the floor with several of my students, while others leaned against the door jamb, squatted by the side of the ‘pool,’ or leaned against a wall.  From my vantage point on the floor, I was struck by the variety and state of our shoes.  One student, an experiential educator who teaches on ropes courses and outdoor adventures, wore his muddied… Read Article →

Community Blog Esther_haram

From Prophets to Process: Purim Ponderings

Rabbi Zadok Hakohen of Lublin (1823-1900) traces the development of the Oral Law to the time of Purim. The basic founding of the Oral Torah began with the men of the Great Assembly … in that generation lived the last prophets … for with the demise of that generation prophecy was stopped up and the writing of the Torah became forbidden, just as was the writing of prophecy … Even… Read Article →

Community Blog tenthlogo_final_v1

Envisioning a Jewish Future

This article originally appeared in Looking Forward, the journal of the Aspen Center for Social Values. Let us begin by distinguishing between two questions. The posed, “What will American Jewry look like in 10 years?” includes various elements — deeper assimilation, higher intermarriage rates, increasing disillusionment with Israel, etc. — all of which seem quite inevitable despite our great efforts to prevent them. “What might American Jewry look like in 10 years?” is a… Read Article →

Community Blog Tzedakah Box

To Give

Recently, as we prepared for our end of year appeal, a colleague asked if it was appropriate to solicit donations from those who receive tuition assistance. It is a frequent question, asked with consideration for those in need. My answer is always the same: in both Jewish tradition and fundraising best practice, it is not only appropriate but an obligation to make the same request of all members of the… Read Article →