Real life, as we all know, is full of polarities: mountains and valleys; highs and lows; peace and war; happiness and loneliness; success and failure.
Though we, Earth’s human beings, are considered to be the wisest and the most powerful creatures on planet, there is a domain of control that we are incapable of. That domain is the control over the physical world. An Earthling like you and I can only control his or her inner self but not external dominions such as the direction to which the wind blows and where the current underneath the oceans flow. When the Earth sways and quakes rig off houses, when the sun blows its fire onto barren lands, we humans get physically hogtied and pushed to derangement IF WE ARE NOT WISE.
Editor’s Note: Two of the Interfaith Advisors of the ADR New Beginnings project offer inspirational words during these difficult times. All of us are praying for the health and well-being of so many and for better times around the planet.
A Light in the Darkness – by Robyn Lebron
Fear of the unknown is very common; something we’ve all experience, I’m sure. I remember when my daughter was leaving a 200-student middle school, and going to a 2,500-student high school. She was terrified that she would be “lost all the time” until I reminded her that her favorite mall was twice that size, and she was never lost there!
The “little child” in us rears it’s head when situations arise that we feel unprepared for. But as we pass through the eye of the storm, something miraculous happens! When human beings are faced with difficult situations, they rise to extraordinary heights! The spirit inside us blossoms and we become the beings we are meant to be. The sight of another person or community in need erases all those childlike fears, and we expose our “superman” uniforms!
I am the wren psalming the rising sun
I am the foam of the sea rushing the shore
I am the deer that leaps through woods,
I am the purple thistle, velvet and sting,
I am the otter romping the river,
I am the raindrop that sweetens the spring,
I am the red fox, tail brushing the field,
I am the moss that furs the bark of the oak,
I am the dolphin whistling in the waves
I am the hawthorn, berry and blossom, blush in the hedgerow,
I am the quicksilver moonbeam,
I am the center of the eye, pursuing the horizon,
I am the breath of God – stardust and song.
Judy Kimeldorf was born in 1940 and witnessed or participated in world-changing events from the erection of the Berlin Wall to Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, and now the disappointing step back into nationalism and fascism. She spends her time in retirement on community projects including Food Banks, monthly standing out with Trump-GOP protest placards programs, coordinating a program providing back-to-school supplies for limited income families, and guiding her local home owners association. I (her husband of 40+ years) invited 50 of her close friends to celebrate her 80th birthday. Judy and I celebrate birthdays by remembering and reflecting, and this year, Judy recalled experiences shaping her life across 80 years. This piece is built from that speech and contains lessons for us all about balancing our fears and disappointments with our hopes and blessings. ~ Martin Kimeldorf
It’s exciting to start a new year and a new century with the hopes that this year will be better and offer many opportunities.The work in Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) must be intentional and not a one-time activity to check-off the box. Successful organizations in the field tend to have D&I as part of their organizational DNA just like safety.Some trends for this year include: intentionality and understanding for the business case for D&I, increase in unconscious bias awareness, and the expanding of the Muslim ban on its impact in the workplace.
College loans, credit cards, mortgages—they all add up to a lack of disposable income, and worse yet, with the possible social security shortfall predicted by the year 2034, no extra funds to put away for retirement, so today’s high school students run the risk of not having enough money to live on through their golden years. Even worse, they may find it difficult to support themselves and their eventual families. It is difficult to predict what will happen to our economy, but if today’s high school graduates learn to arm themselves financially, they can live a comfortable life with a soft monetary cushion.
In the 20th century, corporations and state enterprises perfected a “free trade” sleight of hand for extracting resources and cheap labor globally. Today, as sources of “cheap labor” become less profitable, artificial intelligence (AI) is wielded as a tool for further exploiting American labor.
When automated manufacturing first showed up in the 60s, the “pundits” (then called eggheads) worried about automation shortening the workweek. They argued that the increase in leisure would destroy the American work ethic. Today, automation’s potential for delivering the paradise of a 20-hour workweek has been largely forgotten, even though productivity per worker has rocketed off the charts. Today most people feel over-worked, and leisurely lifestyles remain the province of the rich.
Editor’s Note: February commemorates and celebrates American history and culture.Here are two aspects of this month in the words of one of the best speakers and communication coaches in the country, Vincent Ivan Phipps. The first of his essays looks at the history of Black History Month. The second looks at Valentine’s Day with advice we can all use to our own benefit and that of our loved ones.
Why is Black History Month in February?
Thank the ASNLH, Association for the Study of Negro Life and History!In 1916 an American historian, Carter G. Woodson, began editing this organization’s primary scholarly publication called the Journal of Negro History. In 1924, as a member of the historically Black fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, Woodson used the platform of his fraternity to introduce Negro History and Literature Week.In 1926, Woodson and the ASNLH inaugurated Negro history week in February 1926 which eventually parlayed into National Negro Month or to what it is called today, Black History Month.
Since February includes my wedding anniversary and a day on which everyone celebrates love (February 14), I wish to share these thoughts on relationships from a recent sermon on Parashat Va-eira. In the Torah, God sends Moses to talk to Pharaoh and tells him, “I will put you in the role of God before Pharaoh and your brother Aaron shall be a prophet. You speak the words I command to you, and Aaron will speak them to Pharaoh” (Exodus 7:1-2).
Rashi, a medieval rabbi and author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, understands why Aaron’s role is not redundant. Aaron makes the words eloquent for Pharaoh to hear and understand. Thus, we learn the role of the prophet: taking complex ideas, hard lessons, and putting them into plain language. Even the greatest of wisdom is worthless if it cannot be applied. Language is only the beginning, and must be coupled with empathy, with attention to non-verbal cues, and with proper tone. We know Moses claims to be slow of speech, especially compared to his brother. His speech is fine, but Aaron knows the real difference between speech and communication. Continue reading Communicating with Empathy – by Rabbi Craig Lewis→
Guide to critical factors that drive and sustain our structural inequity
As we enter 2020, I call on all people to rise, unite and fight against structural inequity and the factors that influence and perpetuate it. To that end, this piece explores two foundational factors that drive and sustain inequity in our society: uneven playing fields in education and economic. I believe that the only way to meaningfully bridge the inequity gap in all aspects of our society is through leveling the playing field, and that is the subject of this piece.