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Rededication, Giving, and Thanks

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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


contact@waysofpeace.org

Things That Come Back to Life....

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Michelle V. Agins - The New York Times

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


contact@waysofpeace.org

The American Jewish Way of Death

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Michelle V. Agins - The New York Times

 

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


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Caring for the Dead--by Singing to Them

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Tablet Magazine, 6/28/13

 

I serve many roles in my community’s hevra 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


contact@waysofpeace.org

A Tale of Two Inevitabilities...and Three Exciting Programs in New Hampshire!

Regina Sandler-Phillips

 

"Death and taxes."  Benjamin Franklin was the most famous (if not the first) to juxtapose these two certainties of modern industrialized life.

 

And from a Jewish ethical perspective, tzedakah (giving "toward-justice") is  actually a voluntary percentage tax, rather than an optional deduction.

 

Facing our money along with our mortality is where soul-searching and financial planning come together most directly.  And the results can be transformative!

 

I'm thinking of this as I prepare to present three programs in idyllic New Hampshire this summer: one at the NHC Summer Institute, and two at World Fellowship Center.

 

Each program will bring innovative resources, compassionate guidance, group support, and a sense of excitement and possibility to issues that — as inevitable as they may be — are often too difficult to confront alone.

 

One Day Before We Die is a course on articulating the legacy of our most cherished values and experiences — to help us to live more fully and lovingly, here and now.

 

Final Choices: How Fair and Sustainable Are Yours? picks up this thread in a secular context, as an evening seminar on one of the most avoided — yet vital — issues of life planning.

 

The Strength in Numbers is another evening seminar that highlights the power of our own financial choices as a force for social justice.

 

We'd love to see you in New Hampshire!  And if you'd like to bring these or other programs to your home community, please contact us.

 

With many blessings for the seasons ahead,

 

RRegina

 

Rabbi Regina Sandler-Phillips, MSW, MPH
Director, WAYS OF PEACE Community Resources


contact@waysofpeace.org

"...For These Are WAYS OF PEACE."

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Some 20 years have now passed since I was first introduced to the principles known as Darkhei Shalom / WAYS OF PEACE, while living and learning in Jerusalem.

 

Having previously struggled through the 1991 Gulf War while living and working in northern Israel, I found the practical orientation of WAYS OF PEACE both compelling and timeless. Here were 1800 years of spiritual guidance for cooperation across many lines of diversity and potential conflict — between different kinds of Jews, as well as between Jews and other peoples:

 
"In cities of diversity...we organize ourselves and our money...and sustain the poor...and visit the sick...and bury the dead...and console the bereaved...for these are ways of peace." (Jerusalem Talmud)

Two decades of action / reflection later, I offer you the community resources presented here. I welcome you to join me on this mission of bringing people together in response to shared human needs.

 

If WAYS OF PEACE can be of support to you, please contact us. And if you can be of support to WAYS OF PEACE, your generosity will help us to move "from strength to strength" in applying these caring imperatives to the continued healing of our wounded world.

 

With deep appreciation and many blessings for the seasons ahead,

 

RRegina

 

Rabbi Regina Sandler-Phillips, MSW, MPH
Director, WAYS OF PEACE Community Resources