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Rededication, Giving, and Thanks

Have you been touched by “ways of peace” over the past year?

 

Perhaps you experienced a deeper connection to community concerns, or the vulnerability of illness or bereavement.  Maybe you reflected on how your purchasing power could be leveraged for broader social benefit.   You might have noticed how mindful responses to shared human needs throughout the life cycle can bring out the best in us and others.

 

The recent holidays offer values worth carrying forward into our daily lives. “Hanukkah” literally means dedication or rededication, and “Thanksgiving” is another word for gratitude.  Gratitude can inspire a rededication to giving.

 

As you plan your end-of-year giving, we hope you will consider a donation to WAYS OF PEACE Community Resources.  We recently celebrated our first anniversary of promoting peaceful coexistence, justice and kindness through spiritual support, community learning, personal guidance, and innovative resources for contemporary life challenges. 

 

In 2013 our work was highlighted in The Jewish Daily Forward and Tablet Magazine (see previous posts below). Our innovative workshops and retreats were well-received in and out of New York.  Between publications and programs, we were able to support individuals and families through both joyous and sorrowful changes in their lives. 

 

We are pioneering a new model of social entrepreneurship, and we welcome your contributions to our efforts.  Please click here to donate.  

 

And if you’d like to bring WAYS OF PEACE to your community in the year to come, we'd love to hear from you.

 

With gratitude and many blessings for rededication in the seasons ahead,

 

Regina

 

Rabbi Regina Sandler-Phillips, MSW, MPH

for WAYS OF PEACE

Things That Come Back to Life....

Tablet Magazine, 10/30/13

“What is your position on zombies?”

It’s not something I’m usually asked as a rabbi, especially in the middle of a meal. Adam was approaching bar mitzvah at the time, and his parents had invited me to stay for dinner after one of our study sessions.

‘Tis the season for discussions of how kosher it is for Jews to celebrate Halloween. But the fascination with “the undead” isn’t limited by the calendar; it’s ongoing, particularly for young people, and it provides opportunities for dialogue between generations on issues that go beyond costumes and candy.  (...)  Read More

The American Jewish Way of Death

The Jewish Daily Forward, 7/30/13

In August 1963, “The American Way of Death” by Jessica Mitford sold out its first printing on its publication date and topped The New York Times best-seller list for weeks.

Inspired by her husband, Robert Treuhaft, a radical Jewish labor lawyer who was an unnamed co-author of the book, Mitford brought a sparkling British wit to her investigation of the American funeral industry. She focused on such practices as embalming bodies for viewing in ornate, expensive caskets, demonstrating how funeral industry profits had become dependent on these items — and on the inducement of bereaved families, at their most vulnerable, to pay for them.

Mitford’s (and Treuhaft’s) book struck a responsive chord among millions of Americans, prompted new Federal Trade Commission regulations and gave a significant boost to what is known as the funeral consumer movement.

Fifty years later, what can we learn from “The American Way of Death” as we consider our current Jewish choices for responding to life’s final chapter?  (...) Read more.

Caring for the Dead--by Singing to Them

Tablet Magazine, 6/28/13

I serve many roles in my community’s chevra kadisha, or sacred burial fellowship—from community organizer to silent witness. There are set tasks of washing, purification, dressing, and laying out the dead. Protection of the body against dishonor is the primary Jewish imperative, which is why sh’mirah (vigil-keeping around the clock) remains so vital to the process.

I am a rabbi, but my commitment to the burial fellowship is part of an ancient lay commitment that predates rabbinic leadership. And for me, the unique heart of this sacred undertaking is singing to those who have died. 

(...) Read more