By Andrés Spokoiny We’re still in the Stone Age. Or rather, our minds are. I’m not kidding. The human brain has evolved very little since we were hunter-gatherers in the African savanna and it still uses the same adaptive behaviors that we learned escaping from lions and looking for edible berries. I’m talking about things like the “fight or flight” response, phobias, courtship, relationships with strangers, altruism, and more. In fact, … [Read more...] about Apes and Angels (Rosh Hashanah 5779)
Jewish Philanthropy. Chronicled.
By Erica Brown The days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur offer us the gift of self-reflection and a time to focus on being better Jewish public servants. To that end, the following are a selection of responses to an “Al Chet” - For the Sin of… - exercise I often conduct with boards and Jewish communal professionals at this season. Each person gets an index card and a timed two minutes to “customize” areas for improvement specifically … [Read more...] about A Jewish Public Service Confessional
By Rabbi Aaron Spiegel Synagogue vitality is so difficult to define that it is nearly an oxymoron. I have long envied churches who had a clearly defined, concrete vitality benchmark - worship attendance. This yardstick does not work for synagogues who put far less importance on weekly worship attendance than churches. But, benchmarks change - worship attendance is no longer seen as the primary standard for church vitality. New measures need … [Read more...] about Vital Synagogues
By Lisa Lisser “Where are you coming from and where are you going” Genesis 16:8 This is the question that the angel of God asks Hagar, Sarai’s maidservant and Avram’s second wife, when she runs away from Sarai’s harsh treatment. Where are you coming from and where are you going? Why does the messenger ask her this question? God knows who Hagar is, God knows where Hagar is from; God doesn’t need to ask these questions. But Hagar … [Read more...] about Some Thoughts on Elul
By A Professional Jew
Many of my close friends are rabbis. Some, over the last 20 years have asked me to read, critique and/or edit their High Holiday sermons. These folks are all bright, learned and stay current with Jewish learning and with the topics of the day. Yet, every rabbi I know feels tremendous angst, fear, trepidation and immense pressure related to their High Holiday sermons. Why would rabbis, who speak in front of people several … [Read more...] about Before You Listen to a High Holiday Sermon –
Retrospective on Hadar’s Day School Educators’ Institute with the Pedagogy of Partnership By Eli Savage In June, I was part of a cohort of 20 Jewish educators who participated in the Pedagogy of Partnership Track of Hadar’s Day School Educator Institute. This intensive week of inspiring personal and professional learning combines Jewish text learning, led by Hadar faculty, in a lively beit midrash setting with interactive training in the … [Read more...] about Moving from your Panic to your Comfort Zone