By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
People whose originality and creativity are a significant part of their lives tend to be more sensitive to their environments, says psychotherapist Eric Riss, who works with artists, writers, performers, and other creative people. When artists mistake this sensitivity as a sign that they are out of tune with what's going on around them, he suggests, they can kill their own creativity. Everyday problems like depression, anxiety, and lack of confidence tend to be magnified by this heightened awareness. Combined with society's expectations for conformity, these feelings of inadequacy can cause creative people to become frustrated by their own uniqueness. Therapy that recognizes there's nothing wrong with the artist can be life-changing. Creative people don't need to be medicated or calmed down, says Riss; they need encouragement to find a sense of confidence. When artists identify the voices that stifle their unique way of expressing things, they can learn to ignore them.
Eric Riss, Ph.D., 988-4700
Terminology scarcely allows it: Open Orthodoxy is an apparent oxymoron. Yet Rabbi Avraham (Avi) Weiss, senior rabbi at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, has made it his creed. Open Orthodoxy "is open to secular studies and views other than those of their rabbis; open to non-Jews and less observant Jews; open to the state of Israel as having religious meaning; open to increased women's participation; open to contact with the Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist movements; and open to public protest as a means of helping our people."
Asked to elaborate on the role of women within the Orthodoxy, a role that appears, within certain sects of the Orthodox right, to be restricted to the kitchen and the closet, Rabbi Weiss says he not only embraces the involvement of women within Orthodox Judaism, but acts as the Halakhic (Jewish law) adviser to several women's prayer groups, and has come to the defense of these groups in his book Women at Prayer.
What makes Rabbi Weiss unique (and controversial) is not that he is an activist committed to an open ideological agenda, but that he has incorporated his open ideology into the historically rigid Orthodox movement. "Open Orthodoxy is not a compromise," he asserts, but an authentic movement founded on "strict Halakhic adherence and open ideological pursuits." Aaron Tillman
The Hebrew Institute of Riverdale offers no-fee seders and services; for full information call 718-796-4730.
Many valuable spiritual and holistic practitioners operate beneath the radar of the big, mainstream institutions. How can you quickly identify excellent metaphysical counselors, bodyworkers, or instructors who are also people of color? Or lesbian, gay, bisexual, Two Spirit, or transgendered? Or who regularly serve culturally or sexually diverse communities with sensitivity and respect?
I'm compiling a database of the best of these practitioners, teachers, speakers, and groups. Their focus must be on either spirituality or alternative health, including spiritual, innovative approaches to mental health issues such as recovery and trauma. This database will support networking among people of color and queer people within the holistic field, and perhaps the creation of programs in collaboration with various community groups.
To submit information about an individual or group, please include contact name, title, organization name, address, phone, fax, e-mail, brief description of activities or services, populations served, and brief personal commentary. Feel free to recommend relevant books, journals, videos, training programs, lecture series, conferences, and other resources. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or snail-mail literature to me at Radical Magick, P.O. Box 1133, Peter Stuyvesant Station, New York, NY 10009.
Eva Yaa Asantewaa
One of nine articles in our Mind/ Body/ Spirit Supplement.