Known as both a provocative religious leader and a respected spiritual iconoclast, Irwin Kula has inspired thousands nationwide using Jewish wisdom in ways that speak to modern life. He is the author of Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life (Hyperion, Sept. 2006), which won a “Books for a Better Life Award,” and was selected as one of “10 Best Spiritual Books of 2006.” Featured in the public TV special, “The Hidden Wisdom of Our Yearnings,” and the acclaimed film, Time for a New God, he ranked No. 8 in the “Top 50 Rabbis in America,” listed in Newsweek, and was named by Fast Company magazine and “Religion and Ethics Newsweekly” (PBS) as one of the new leaders shaping the American spiritual landscape. A regular on The Today Show, he is the co-host of Hirschfield and Kula: Intelligent Talk Radio (KXL, Portland, OR), and hosted his own public TV series, Simple Wisdom with Irwin Kula. Rabbi Kula is the President of CLAL, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.
Transcript: Irwin Kula. Well being born and growing up in New York City, automatically you have first a little hubris by definition ‘cause there’s nothing beyond New York City . . . though I have traveled the world and there are great cities. But I think most important, the diversity of New York City – the diversity of people, the diversity of ideas, diversity of food, music, experiences automatically forces a certain amount of your boundaries to come down because you meet people that have these experiences that are so different from whatever experiences you grew up with. I grew up in a traditional Jewish home. I wound up going to Columbia University, and literally all of a sudden an entire world was there. I was living on 116th Street, and there were more types of food that one could have in a five, six, seven block radius than one could have in whole other cities in the world. And so yet alone all the different kinds of people, and the different sounds, and the different smells. I mean and I think what that does is it opens up the boundaries.