Tsvi Blanchard is a catalyst for change. Longtime social advocate, psychologist, teacher and rabbi, he has been in the forefront of promoting inclusive, vital Jewish communities in the 21 st century. As Director of Organizational Development at CLAL-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, Blanchard is an expert in community and leadership development, and helps steer the organization programmatically. An early leader in the Jewish healing movement, he directs CLAL's prestigious Internship Program.
"We live in a web of relationships," says Blanchard. "Individuals and communities alike are part of larger circles. As Jews, we are also Americans and are part of the mainstream. These connections, formed within both our own community and the broader world, are what CLAL's work embraces. Through the development of new ideas, and with a spirit of openness, we find our common ground."
Connecting ideas to people's lives has always been part of Blanchard's work. An ordained Orthodox rabbi, he holds Ph.D.'s in Psychology and Philosophy, was a professor of philosophy, and director of the Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Chicago. He has taught at Washington, Northwestern and Loyola Universities, as well as the Drisha Institute for Women, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and the Wexner Heritage Foundation, and is a practicing clinical and organizational psychologist New York.
"We Jews have the great gift of having an inherited wisdom to offer spiritual guidance," says Blanchard. "But spirituality is also about how you organize society--what are the values and principles that underlie the creation? Are you building inclusive, expansive communities, where many voices can speak fully, or are you defining the terms of what is admissible and what goes outside of the line?"
In addition to Blanchard's work on issues of ethics, healing, spirituality and the environment, he is an active voice for CLAL's mission of religious pluralism and diversity, and a participant of the Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding. In 2007, he joined a small delegation of bishops and rabbis for a private meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in Rome (his second meeting). Also in 2007, he was invited by Professor Bernhard Schlink, the pre-eminent German author ( The Reader ), lawyer, judge and jurist to be a guest teacher and lecturer at the renowned Humboldt University School of Law in Berlin on the subject of Jewish and comparative law. Now an adjunct professor at Fordham Law School, Blanchard teaches Jewish law and a continuing legal education program based on his work in Germany.
A popular and speaker and consultant, Blanchard has appeared often in the media on such programs as "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "Eye on Religion." In 2006, he was featured along with Elie Wiesel in the documentary, Turn to Me , by Academy Award nominee Murray Nossell on the gift of volunteering, released by the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services . Author of the article, "Jewish Voices, Jewish Values" in Jewish Week 's Directions Magazine (Dec. 2006), and a participant in Psychoanalytic Perspectives: A Journal of Integration and Innovation 's (2006) roundtable discussion on psychoanalysis, spirituality and religion, he is a 2003 Reisman Award winner for "Article of the Year"(Journal of Jewish Communal Service), co-author of Embracing Life & Facing Death: A Jewish Guide to Palliative Care (CLAL, 2003), and writer of the introduction for photographer Frederic Brenner's acclaimed book, Diaspora: Homelands in Exile (Harper Collins, 2003). Blanchard's stories and parables have been widely anthologized. Publications include "How Stories Heal," "Joining Heaven and Earth," and "After Eden: The Search for the Holy in a Consumer Society."