Chris Harrison

Chris Harrison

Inside Leadership
Lulav and etrog against a bright blue background

While all Jewish holidays serve as great opportunities to practice audacious hospitality, Sukkot has always stood out to me as the most audaciously hospitable of Jewish holidays. What other time of year do we build a temporary makeshift house through the commandment of inviting ushpizin (guests), with the goal of inviting others into it and dwelling together as a community?

In addition to the sukkah itself, we can find similar imagery of audacious hospitality in the arba minim, the “four species” associated with Sukkot: citron, palm, myrtle, and willow. These symbols can, in fact,...

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Close up of a persons fingers holding a button bearing the colors of the bisexuality pride flag

“Coming out” is an incredibly important and defining moment for many members of the LGBTQ+ community. Coming out means something different to everybody, and no individual story is alike.

As someone who is Jewish and bisexual (bi), I used to think coming out meant making a huge spectacle out of it. I thought I’d practically have to throw a lavish, queer party and make a formal declaration of my commitment to the bi people (a bi mitzvah, perhaps).

I’d later realize, of course, that isn’t the case – and I’d also realize that while coming out can be difficult for everyone,...

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Worshippers doing a hora style dance around the sanctuary

Last year was the first time I observed the High Holidays as a Jew. While I had a wonderful time celebrating Rosh HaShanah at two of my close colleagues’ homes with delicious home-cooked meals, I was secretly dreading Yom Kippur.

Everything I had read about the holiday seemed to cause me stress; after all, this was the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, and at that, a day dedicated to accounting for our past year’s sins and making ourselves vulnerable to our own self-scrutiny. I was also told never to wish other Jews a “happy Yom Kippur.” A day of such solemnity, after all, could...

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Light bulb sitting atop a thought bubble drawn in chalk on a chalkboard

“So I turned about and applied my heart to know, to explore, and to search for wisdom and the reason for things.” – Ecclesiastes 7:25

One of the themes of the High Holidays is reflection, as with the passing of a full year come a lot of memories, both good and bad. We are encouraged to reflect on our accomplishments and the strides we’ve made as Jews and as human beings, and we are also encouraged to examine where we’ve missed the mark and need to apply the concept of t’shuvah (repentance).

It’s important to ask ourselves, too: Where have we missed the mark this year in...

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Hands holding up a white cutout of a speech bubble with a heart on it

Many Jews see the month of Elul (the last month of the Hebrew calendar) as an opportunity to reflect before the High Holidays. When we take the proper time to think about the past year – instances in which we excelled and those where we could’ve done better – we honor ourselves by taking the time to properly prepare to start the next year off right.

Part of that reflection means taking stock of how audaciously hospitable we’ve been to others and how much we’ve focused on the concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our Jewish communities. To begin this challenging but...

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