The Rite Way Blog

Initiation & Awakening – Filling the Void

Posted on February 2, 2014 by David Blumenkrantz

I first heard this old Yiddish story, which has roots in the Talmud, from Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz 1.image1-feb-revised2

 Photo Credit: Lucretia Robbiani

While we are in the womb, we know everything there is to know about the universe, but we forget it all at birth. At a later time, to help us remember, God runs a finger from the bottom of our nose to the top of our lip. That’s why there’s an indentation. (more…)

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Happy New Year

Posted on January 2, 2014 by David Blumenkrantz

newyearRabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said:
"Prayer is our humble answer to the inconceivable surprise of living."

Rabbi Ms. Brous answers: “So many people walk around in life so aware of what they don't have, what they long for: the love that they haven't found yet, the absence. They're so aware of the absence. And what Heschel says to us is, 'Look at the presents, figure out what you do have. Look at the world with awe and wonder, and the amazing miracle that your skin holds the blood inside your body.' The world is as extraordinary there are so many incredible blessings around us. Our spiritual challenge is gratefulness, which makes the soul great. Find a way to be grateful for what we do have, because it's simply not fair to live in a world and only be conscious of what you do not have.” (more…)

Posted in ROPE

Holidays, Rituals, Stories and Relationships©

Posted on December 9, 2013 by David Blumenkrantz

In No Ordinary Time, The Story of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, Doris Kearns-Goodwin details the relationship between Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt. Her accounts portray the deep respect and affection that these two men had for each other. She even characterizes it as “love.” How did this happen?

Roots of Relationships
Rituals and Shared Stories ♥

1206131 President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill seated on the quarterdeck of HMS PRINCE OF WALES for a Sunday service during the Atlantic Conference, 10 August 1941.

Kearns-Goodwin describes a scene following the Atlantic Conference of 1941, which set forth strategic commitments on the part of Britain and the United States. She writes; “For both Roosevelt and Churchill, the emotional peak of the conference came on Sunday morning, as Roosevelt boarded the Prince of Wales for a religious service, complete with the singing of a dozen common hymns… Holding hymnbooks in their hands, the two leaders joined in song, with hundreds of British and American sailors crowded together side by side, sharing the same books. ‘The same language, the same hymns and more or less the same ideals,’ Churchill mused that evening. ‘I have an idea that something really big may be happening - something really big.’ ‘If nothing else had happened while we were here,’ Roosevelt later said, ‘the joint service that sunlit morning would have cemented us.’ For one brief moment, human togetherness gained ascendancy. Over the vast ship, so bright and gay with its glittering colors, there was a unity of faith of two people. ‘Every word seemed to stir the heart,’ Churchill attested, ‘and none who took part in it will forget the spectacle presented…. It was a great hour to live,” (p.267) (more…)

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We Need That Rite of Passage…

Posted on October 29, 2013 by David Blumenkrantz

ROP-BAby-in-EarthDougie MacLean, the wonderfully talented Scottish folk singer puts down in verse what many of us believe.

I hope you enjoy and share. As he sings: "You need that rites of passage before you can continue on...." More important today than ever. Special thanks to all who are guiding youth, through rites of passage, to adulthood and meaningful connections with all life.



Posted in ROPE

Designing as if All Things Are Related© – Part 2

Posted on October 2, 2013 by David Blumenkrantz

wbdg Graphic from Whole Building Design Guide, 3.22.2012.

Several weeks ago my long time friend (notice I didn’t say “old friend”!) and award winning green building designer Chuck introduced me to a concept called Integrated Design Charrettes. It is a key ingredient in a whole building design approach that we discussed in Part 1 of the September Paradigm Shift Blog. This design process is almost identical to the process we have used for many years to help a community co-learn and co-create their own rite of passage. In order to achieve the goal of designing and building a structure that is aligned with its physical surroundings and is in balance with nature as well as meets the needs of those who will live, play, learn and work at the location, all constituency groups must be involved in the early design phase. “Planning and Conducting Integrated Design (ID) Charrettes” describes the process clearly. A whole systems integrated design process requires intimate conversations between all the constituency groups.


Posted in ROPE

Designing as if All Things Are Related© – Part 1

Posted on September 9, 2013 by David Blumenkrantz


Over the past 30 years I have been talking with one of my best friends about the similarities of our work. Chuck Silver is an award winning Platinum LEED designer and principal in the design firm, Hudson River Design. His intentional community, business and home designs are not only stunning, they are eloquently aligned with their natural surroundings, frequently have zero energy impact and meet the clients’ needs. Unlike many traditional architects his approach engages others, including stakeholders, policymakers and local zoning officials, in ongoing conversations. The central purpose of these conversations is to ensure that the design and subsequent structure(s) are a fit with the location (other physical structures), nature and the people who will use and inhabit the building(s). This Whole Building Design approach recognizes the connectivity between all structures in nature. (more…)

Posted in ROPE

What if Human Evolution is the Ultimate Clinical Trial?©

Posted on August 2, 2013 by David Blumenkrantz

Marc B. Goldstein & David G. Blumenkrantz

 The Andes of Ecuador 2 by Frederic Edwin Church


In contemporary behavioral science, the randomized clinical trial has emerged as the gold standard for evaluating the efficacy of medical and social interventions. Indeed, today, for an intervention to not be "evidence-based" is to be largely shunned from most funding streams. But are there other ways we can judge the viability of potential interventions?


Posted in ROPE
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David Blumenkrantz, Ph.D., Ed.M., Founder & Executive Director, the Center for Youth & Community

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It’t time for a Paradigm Shift – a fundamental change in beliefs, theory and approach – in developing community-centered responses to the challenges faced by today’s Youth & Community. More here>>