Compassion and the Heart of Jewish Spirituality

We often hear that Judaism cares only about what we do, not what we think or feel. Rabbi Shai Held, however, argues that Judaism cares deeply about how we feel. Using Carmel Academy in Connecticut as an example, Rabbi Held pushes us to reevaluate how kindness and chesed are incorporated into Jewish education, asserting that compassion and empathy are essential pieces of being Jewish even when being compassionate is scary and hard.

Rabbi Shai Held is Co-Founder and Dean of Hadar (

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