National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership

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The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL) is a leadership training institute, think tank, and resource center. It is an inter-disciplinary and inter-denominational movement, in which rabbis from all of the major Jewish denominations in North America are participants. The organisation is described by The Jewish Daily Forward as a "think-tank dedicated to questions of Jewish identity and religious its quest to expand the boundaries of Jewish communal life".[1]

According to the organization's website, "CLAL links Jewish wisdom with innovative scholarship to deepen civic and spiritual participation in American life. CLAL's interdisciplinary programs explore religious and national identity. The CLAL faculty, with its reputation for excellence, represents rabbis and scholars from many streams and disciplines, and provides cutting-edge teaching, lectures, courses, seminars, and consulting across the country."

Rabbis Irwin Kula and Brad Hirschfield presently serve as co-presidents of CLAL.[2][3]


CLAL has an intentional double meaning in Hebrew. To the English speaker, CLAL is a four letter acronym formed using first letters, with some license, of a part of the organization's English language name (Center for Leadership and Learning). But in Hebrew, these same four letters represent an alternate phonetic transliteration for klal, which translates roughly as community.[4] Klal is the first word of klal Yisrael, a Hebrew expression that is frequently heard in invocations for unity among the Jewish people. This Hebrew interpretation of the name CLAL suggests the organization's stated mission to serve as a center of interdenominational cooperation in American Judaism.[5]


CLAL was founded in 1974, by Rabbi Irving Greenberg, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, and Steve Shaw.


  1. ^ "‘Rabbi Cool’ and Rock Opera Draw Stars, Upscale Spiritualists". The Jewish Daily Forward. Retrieved 2009-07-30. 
  2. ^ "50 Influential Rabbis", Newsweek, April 30, 2009.
  3. ^ "CLAL Faculty, Fellows and Associates" at CLAL website (accessed June 18, 2010).
  4. ^ "Keeping the Faith". Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  5. ^ "Kabbalah-based course offers steps to fulfillment". Retrieved 9 October 2014. 

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