On Monday, We Remember That The American Dream Isn’t Dead

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My article on The Wisdom Daily

Some are saying that the American dream is dead. About one-half of millennials believe this to be the case. Some of the presidential candidates talk about it a lot as they speak to a nation that is, in general, feeling very pessimistic about the future. But, I refuse to give in to all the negativity. I believe that the American dream, an ideal that is an intrinsic part of our country, is still very much alive. And, I believe that we need to make certain to celebrate the American dream next week, on February 1st, a day that President Truman proclaimed to be National Freedom Day.

National Freedom Day is not an official holiday. It’s simply referred to as an observance. While some cities have a special ceremony to mark the day, it hasn’t become a well-established American tradition. This is unfortunate because National Freedom Day commemorates the essence of the American dream.

It was on February 1, 1865, that President Lincoln signed a joint congressional resolution proposing the 13th Amendment to the Constitution that, once ratified, would abolish slavery throughout the United States.

To read more, please click HERE.

The ISH Weekly

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I am excited to introduce you to a new, online magazine that I have created as part of ISH, our new spiritual venture designed to engage the unaffiliated. The magazine, The ISH Weekly, is a collection of articles and videos pertaining to spirituality that I curate and share each week. Each edition of The ISH Weekly highlights trending spiritual topics and issues. While the magazine is published and promoted weekly on ISH’s Twitter account, you can access it HERE any time and become a subscriber.
In The ISH Weekly, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about spiritual events that are capturing people’s attention. Inspirational videos and stories that have been shared online are often featured. I make certain to include articles that explore ways in which spirituality intersects with science and technology. And a special Health & Wellness section captures some of the most important ways that spirituality can improve your life.

While The ISH Weekly will often contain material pertaining to Judaism, I make it a point not to limit the weekly collection to Jewish articles and videos. Various different faith traditions are represented, as are spiritual practices that many would not associate with a specific religion. There is a section of The ISH Weekly that includes articles pertaining to specific religious communities, but the spirituality that The ISH Weekly is committed to sharing transcends religion.

I do hope that you will take the time to check out The ISH Weekly. Let me know what you think and, if you find an article that you think might be an interesting addition to the weekly collection, please share it with me!

It’s How You Play The Game

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As many of us were coming to terms with the fact that we did not win the $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot, The Jerusalem Post shared a beautiful story yesterday about one of the three Powerball winners – a nurse in California who is the mother of seven kids whose boss bought the ticket for her. Her boss, Shlomo Rechnitz, is an Orthodox Jewish businessman and philanthropist. He owns several nursing homes in California and reportedly purchased 18,000 Powerball tickets – one for each employee. Along with the ticket, Rechnitz attached a note that read: “We will provide the ticket. You provide the dream.” Explaining Mr. Rechnitz’s decision to do this, his spokesperson said: “In the new year, ‘everyone wants a bit of hope’ and he (Mr. Rechnitz) wanted to give everyone that bit of hope.”

This is not the first time Rechnitz has done incredible things for people. Last year he bought 400 U.S. soldiers dinner as they waited for their plane at an airport in Ireland. He has helped many Jewish organizations and donated $1 million to Orthodox communities affected by Hurricane Sandy. Every Saturday night, Rechnitz opens his home to the needy, giving money to those in crisis. He has promised $10,000 to the family of any California police officer killed in the line of duty and he sent $20,000 to a woman who wanted to induce labor to allow her dying husband to meet their baby girl before he passed away. While some have been quick to point out that Mr. Rechnitz’s nursing homes have been sued and investigated for serious deficiencies, his desire to help others and make a real difference in this world has rightfully earned him a great deal of respect.

Late yesterday, it broke that the nurse who received one of Mr. Rechnitz’s Powerball tickets as a gift was not the winner. It appears that her son played a prank on her, leading her to believe that she won. She and her coworkers did celebrate when she thought she had won and the media picked up on it – but the story quickly fell apart and the media began to focus on the “feel good story” that had become a “hoax.” Sure, it is unfortunate that the nurse did not win – but to dismiss this story as a hoax places the emphasis upon the millions of dollars that the nurse would have won. Trust me, I am not saying money is insignificant! However, this story is much bigger than the $1.5 billion jackpot. This story highlights the incredible generosity of Mr. Rechnitz who wanted his employees to feel hopeful as the new year began. Yes, he is tremendously successful – but his generosity reminds us all that it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. Mr. Rechnitz is playing the game really well. Hopefully we can all learn a little something from him. Maybe next week, instead of spending money on Powerball tickets, we can send some money to someone or to an organization that really needs it. Maybe we can buy a soldier a cup of coffee or find a way to express our appreciation to a police officer. We didn’t win the Powerball jackpot, but we still have the ability to change the world – one person at a time.

By the way, Mr. Rechnitz has promised the nurse and her family an all-expense paid vacation to anywhere she wants to go.

Shabbat Shalom!

For Auld Lang Syne

A special post from my wife, Rabbi Cheryl Jacobs

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For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stop !
and surely I’ll be mine !
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give us a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

Ah, the traditional sounds of the New Year. Noisemakers, merriment and Auld Lang Syne. Auld Lang Syne is a Scottish poem, thought to be composed by Scottish poet and lyricist Robert Burns in 1788. It is well known across the English-speaking world and has long been associated with New Year’s celebrations, commonly played after people watch the ball drop. Auld Lang Syne literally translates to “Old Long Since,” and more roughly it means “long, long ago” or “days gone by.”

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I usually dread New Year’s Eve. I’m filled with all of the things that I must do to have the absolute best time of my life. I look at everyone’s pictures on social media and I think, ‘Yes! I’m going to have the ultimate party, feast, fun this year,’ even though, if truth be told, I’m not the ultimate party, feast, fun type of gal. I also think of all of the resolutions I’m going to make…I’m sure they are the same as yours. Be a better mother, wife, daughter, sibling, friend, etc. etc. I will move more, eat less and spend every waking, non working, non mothering moment lifting weights and running/kickboxing/yoga-ing. Overall, New Year’s Eve makes me stressed and my fixed expectations put a lot of pressure on the new year to come.

This year, things were to be different – TO CONTINUE READING, PLEASE CLICK HERE