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Jewish Values

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Mindfulness. It's a buzz word. Every spiritual center, house of worship or yoga studio you attend preaches mindfulness these days. It's thrown around in pop culture, in New Age circles and in the office. "I practice mindfulness." "I'm trying to be more mindful." "You should cultivate mindfulness." But why is it en vogue and what does it mean? One of the reasons it's so popular is because it transcends religion. You can be Christian and mindful, Jewish and mindful, even secular and mindful. It isn't...

Why is it that whenever we experience droughts our first inclination is to pray? From Moses and the Israelites to today’s politicians, praying for rain seems to be a knee jerk reaction. Water shortages. Droughts. No rain. Many believe this constitutes cause to turn our eyes heavenwards and cry out to God to make it rain. Certainly it’s not shocking to read about Moses doing this multiple times during the Exodus from Egypt. Whether or not you are religious, as a...

Having retired from being a synagogue rabbi a few years back, there are times, like right now as Jews around the world head into Yom Kippur, when I truly miss it. Yom Kippur is a unique and amazing opportunity, both because it’s the largest turnout in a synagogue all year along, and also because it is such an introspective, sincere and open hearted holy day. For clergy like me, a passionate preacher from Nebraska, it was the spiritual Super Bowl and...

Jews around the world prepare to usher in Rosh HaShana, the Jewish New Year, through prayer, family gatherings and, of course, the ritual of eating apples and honey (symbolizing a sweet New Year). Certainly it is a great opportunity to stop and reflect upon so many important things. This year, however, how about reflecting upon the importance of that actual honey you are about to consume? Did you know: Honey bees are responsible for 80 percent of all pollination worldwide. A single...

As I pack my bags readying to leave, after three amazing years living in Israel, I’m reflecting on all the insights, lessons and inspiration I’ll take with me. Nothing has been more profound than this. Israel isn’t simply the modern, Start-up Nation, but equally the ancient Entrepreneur Nation, creating and nurturing entrepreneurs for four thousand years and counting. Thanks to this entrepreneurial spirit  I am a better person and this world is truly a better place. How In The Heck...

Acres of Diamonds There is a famous story called “Acres of Diamonds,” about a man in an African village who was visited by a traveller who told him of rumors that diamonds had been found across the river. This man became obsessed with discovering such diamonds, sold his home and wandered off in search of treasures.. After years of difficult and fruitless searching, destitute and in a state of desperation, he threw himself into the sea. Meanwhile, back at the home...

Israel, aka “The Startup Nation,” is also known as "the Silicon Wadi," an Arabic pun on "the Silicon Valley," and rightly so. Many Israeli-Arabs and Palestinians are engaged in the thriving Israeli startup and high tech ecosystem, with certain cities like Nazareth leading the way. Absolutely, more attention, energy and resources need to be devoted to providing each of these groups pathways into the Startup Nation, along with many other minorities and/or marginalized groups - not only in Israel, but in the...

Israel has more start-ups, investment capital, multinational R&D centers and companies on the NASDAQ, per capita, than anywhere else in the world -- and the list goes on. This is why Israel has been dubbed the “Start-up Nation”  However, the question we need to answer is, “Why Israel?” Why did this tiny country, a young country, a country with no natural resources and perennially pounded by all kinds of adversity become the Start-up Nation? Although Israel is all about technological breakthroughs,...

It’s not luck or coincidence that some regions become flourishing business communities in a particular sector. Detroit is known for automotive expertise, Silicon Valley for tech, Hartford for Insurance, Switzerland for watches, Germany for engineering. Take a look at Israel, a country that’s celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, is the size of New Jersey and has a population of 8.5 million. Israel has more than 5,000 startups, averaging 640 new startups per year dating back to 1999 – the...