What’s YOUR Jewish Sensibility? – A Crowdsourcing Project

What are the Jewish Sensibilities that guide you in your life, that color your world and perspectives?

Jewish Sensibilities are approaches to living and learning that permeate Jewish culture. The ideas, values, emotions and behaviors they express, emanating from Jewish history, stories and sources, provide inspiration and guidance that help us respond creatively and thoughtfully to life’s challenges and opportunities.

We use these sensibilities as gateways into exploring the relevance and power of traditional Jewish Wisdom applied to our lives.  The ten Jewish Sensibilities on our website are just the beginning.

We want to hear from YOU.   Continue reading

Becoming Jewishly Sensible – episode 1: Lech Lecha

We are proud to introduce our podcast: Becoming Jewishly Sensible.

Becoming Jewishly Sensible explores Jewish Sensibilities, distinctively Jewish mindsets that influence how we take in experiences, make sense of them, and choose to act.

In this inaugural episode, host Rabbi Lee Moore interviews Maggid Zelig Golden on the Sensibility of Lech Lecha.


Please leave us a comment – let us know what you think, and help us shape our future episodes.
Help us out – One Click and you’ll instantly Tweet: Check out the new podcast from @lippmankanfer, Becoming Jewishly Sensible http://ctt.ec/VWu8a+

Brit, An Unlikely Midrash

We think of the Jewish Sensibility Brit as a call to articulate explicit norms that, when practiced, nurture community.

Contemporary writer Anne Carson wrote a poetic meditation titled Book of Isaiah, Part I, as part of her book Glass, Irony, and God.  Read it here, courtesy of The Poetry Foundation.

God smashed Isaiah like glass through


What is the nature of partnership, of contract?  How can principles of Brit guide us in relation to our community, our nation, our collective identity?

Share your thoughts on this poem and the Sensibility of Brit in the comments.

Teaching Torah through Brokenness



Guest post by Rabbi Paul Steinberg

The following was originally published June 9, 2015 by eJewishPhilanthropy.  Many thanks to Dan Brown and Rabbi Paul Steinberg for allowing us to repost on this blog.  In his reflections on the work of Beit T’shuvah, Rabbi Steinberg offers depth and personal insight to two Jewish Sensibilities – Shevirah and Teshuvah.

In 1972, during the television program Eternal Light, Abraham Joshua Heschel vigorously exhorted: “Here stands a man and I’ll tell you, this is a man who has no problems. Do you know why? He’s an idiot!” So it is: to be a mindful human is to have problems. Certainly, these problems include those of the world: injustice, corruption, poverty, warfare, hunger, and on and on. As Jewish mystics identified long ago, the world is broken and is in need of healing, and we should be doing what can to mend such brokenness.

Yet, not only the world has problems or is broken. The Talmud declares that each human being is a world unto him or herself and, therefore each one of us experiences brokenness. Continue reading

What is a Jewish Sensibility?


Have you ever seen a piece of art, encountered a new project, or heard a snippet of conversation between two people and thought to yourself, ‘hm … that’s so Jewish’? Not because of particular images or words that were used, but rather the way thoughts were processed, the way connections were made, the way people responded to each other.

All cultures have particular mindsets that get passed on from generation to generation, shaping how its people make sense of the world, as well as the spectrum of possibilities for how one might respond to it. So too, Jewish culture exhibits features that, often on a subconscious level, inform how people take in what they experience, make sense of it and then act accordingly.

In 2003, Vanessa Ochs  used the term sensibilities to describe “particularly Jewish ways of thinking about what it means to be human, ways that guide and orient a person’s actions and choices.” Merriam-Webster defines a sensibility as “an awareness of and responsiveness toward something.”  Sensibilities are like mindsets through which the core activities of perceiving the world, processing those perceptions, and responding to them take place.They cut across categories of knowledge, emotion, valuing, relationships, and behavior… and are applied toward life situations in such a way that involves all four of those levels.

How does this happen? Why does it matter? Continue reading