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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Short-Term Forecast: "It's All Good"

Weather today: bright and sunny, clear blue sky

Reading today: You Don’t Have To Be Wrong For Me To Be Right: Finding Faith Without Fanaticism, by Brad Hirschfield
Why is it that to make things, even spiritual things, more ours, we so often have to make them less someone else’s? Why does being right depend on everyone else’s being wrong”? Do other children have to be failures in order for ours to be successful? Do other women need to be ugly in order for my wife to be beautiful? In love and beauty we can make room for difference, or at least we seem to know that we should, but we have a harder time applying this expansiveness to tradition and truth.

Rabbi Hirschfield is this year’s Belko Peace Lecturer. He will give his public address in Northport, “Finding Faith Without Fanaticism,” on Sunday evening, Jun 6, at 7:00 p.m. at Trinity Congregational Church. President of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership and a popular commentator on religion and society (“one of America’s fifty most influential rabbis”), Hirschfield’s youthful adoption of orthodox Judaism (his family was not orthodox) also led him to embrace what he later saw as fanatical views. Still faithful to orthodox teachings and practices, his views of right and wrong have shifted considerably over the years.

What I’m getting from his book leads me to expect that Rabbi Hirschfield will be a compelling speaker and a good listener, with a sense of humor as well as strong commitments. Every speaker in this series has given our community food for thought, and this year will be no different.


Anonymous said...

What a pretty explosion of apple blossoms!

Your community speaker series sounds pretty challenging.

I was put in mind of two disparate things: Salman Rushdie on the subject of religious antagonisms, and the value of mediation training.

P. J. Grath said...

It's a very good series, Gerry. Last year's speaker was Gustav Niebuhr, author of BEYOND TOLERANCE: HOW PEOPLE ACROSS AMERICA ARE BUILDING BRIDGES BETWEEN FAITHS, and it's clear that Rabbi Hirschfield is one of those bridge-builders on the international stage.