Reprinted with permission from URJ – Inside Leadership Blog. I have had endless words and feelings and thoughts going through me this past week.  None is more meaningful than the expressions from tens of thousands of you, from young children to older adults – sharing poetry and songs, prayers, stories and support from all over the globe.  They reflect several universal themes: deep loss and sadness, gratitude for what camp

On behalf of my WHP Greater MetroWest 15 cohort, I write this as a letter of thanks for this wonderful journey, the Wexner Heritage Program.  From Aspen, where it all began just over two years ago, through multiple learning sessions in New Jersey and fantastic Institutes in Israel and Utah, in this New Year we continue our Jewish leadership journeys, richer for the knowledge and wisdom you have imparted. To

Reposted with thanks to The Aspen Times When it comes to messianic visions, I prefer a smaller scale. Being raptured into the blinding glow of God’s heavenly presence sounds uncomfortable and, frankly, unsustainable. What happens the morning after the rapture? Brunch? The biblical prophets gave us a grand image of a glorious day when all the kingdoms of the earth will gather to march up Jerusalem’s holy mount, praising God

Reposted with thanks to the Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs  “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” The all-too-familiar opening of Charles Dickens’ nineteenth-century classic A Tale of Two Cities could not have better encapsulated the current state of the Jewish world. As the international community is rocked by political and economic turbulence, the Jewish People—an international people if ever there was one—has not been

Most Israelis are not concerned with the Western Wall issue — a sad truth that a group of WIF alumni, of varied Jewish denominations, decided to tackle.  Deeply worried about the Israeli public’s lack of engagement with the collapse of the Western Wall Compromise and the Conversion Law, a spontaneous interest group — initiated by WIF Alum Einat Hurvitz  (Class 26) — formed during our recent 2017 Summer Institute, hoping

If we are awake to our heritage and history, we must at least consider that the recent confluence of events involving our holiest site – The Temple Mount — and the tensions between different groupings of Jews in Israel and between Israeli and Diaspora Jewry are hardly “coincidental.”  Often, near Tisha B’Av, the Creator presents us with a spur to review our priorities and learn deeply our texts, which provide

Reposted with thanks to Sh’ma Now and The Forward In the abstract, love is about as good as it gets. Yet Jewish wisdom seems to know just how hard it is to love, how inclined we are to move in the opposite direction. In the book of Leviticus, we learn: “You shall not hate your kinsfolk in your heart.” (19:17) The Torah seems to understand that each of us will

Reposted with thanks to Times of israel  Although the burkini affair was definitely put to rest by France’s highest administrative court, it left many Americans wondering about the level of islamophobia in France. Understandably, the media coverage relied heavily on the voices of influential French Muslim activists who have been at the forefront of the fight against islamophobia. The message of these activists has been especially damaging to the French

I was privileged to spend five days last week in Snowmass, CO with the new Wexner Heritage Program classes — Philadelphia 16, New York 16 and New York RSJ 16 — the Wexner team and an amazing group of teachers.  We arrived in Colorado excited and a bit nervous at the prospect of meeting so many new people.  Too short a time later, we left having made deep connections with dozens of

Reposted with thanks to The Jim Joseph Foundation’s blog.  During the summer of 2014, a recent graduate of our high school experienced one of the preeminent rites of passage of those pre-college months — learning the identity of his soon-to-be-roommate.  The excitement of the moment wore off quickly, however, as our graduate looked up his roommate on Facebook and found that his page was full of virulent anti-Israel rhetoric.  One might