Rabbi Rick Schechter
It’s an essential word in the Jewish vocabulary: shalom. It’s our greeting to one another in synagogue, a recurring theme in prayer and Jewish literature, and the final word in our most cherished blessing from God: “May God grant you shalom” (Num. 6:26).
More than peace, shalom means well-being, health, wholeness, and prosperity.
How can we achieve this most precious blessing in our lives – for our loved ones and ourselves?
Judaism and the science of flourishing come together to offer us a possible answer. According to Professor Martin Seligman, well-being can be...Read More
The people were oppressed, taxed beyond their limits. Their ruler was considered cruel and harsh – a tyrant. The people experienced an insufferable bondage. Liberation was required for a new and just society to be born. The overthrow of Pharaoh and the Israelite redemption from Egyptian slavery would prove to be the model and inspiration for the American rebellion against England and the founding of the United States of America.
I love sharing with adults and children alike just how important the greatest Jewish story ever told – the Exodus, the centerpiece of Passover this month...Read More
Did you make any New Year's resolutions for 2018?
To lose 10 pounds? To exercise more? To take better care of yourself?
Believe it or not, Judaism supports these popular aspirations at the turn of each new secular year. You may not think it given our penchant for fatty, rich foods during Hanukkah, Purim, and Passover. Oil, butter, and schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) aside, it’s a mitzvah (commandment) to be healthy and well. We could even go so far as to think of it as a foundational mitzvah.
Our tradition calls it shmirat haguf – literally, guarding the body. In...Read More
“The old shall be made new, and the new shall be made holy,” wrote Rav Kook, chief rabbi of Israel in the 1920s and 30s. His deep insight exquisitely applies to the popular and growing field of positive psychology. This field is, I believe, poised to profoundly influence religion today and Judaism as we know it.
Simply described as “the scientific study of what goes right in life [and] those things that make life most worth living,” positive psychology’s tremendous growth and appeal is amply evident in dozens of titles at the bookstore, and thousands more on Amazon.
“Who was the first Jew?”
I enjoy asking religious school students – and my own children – this question. It’s so much more than a Torah trivia question. What an important and meaningful experience, to know your origins and the foundational stories of your culture and religion (not to mention those of your family and community).
Students sometimes respond with the names of Adam, Noah, or Moses. They were all great people, but it was, in fact, Abraham and his wife, Sarah whom I like to refer to as the “George and Martha Washington of Judaism.”
As American citizens...Read More
Submit a blog post
Share your voice: ReformJudaism.org accepts submissions to the blog for consideration.