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Irwin Kula

Rabbi; President of CLAL

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.

Re: Where are we?

“I would love to see an election that splits the differences between traditional Democrats and traditional Republicans that says we have a role in the world. ”
7 min

Re: Who are we?

Kula sees that society is shaped by spiritual, or religious evolution, as well as increasingly new technologies that use the mind to fashion objects that allow use of ever-evolving consciousness.
8 min

Where is Judaism today?

Judaism today is a microcosm of the world: there are fundamentalists as well as those who see the state of Israel as an example grand peace and interdependence, as well […]
2 min


Unfortunately right now religion is being used to legitimate people’s group and political identities rather than actually destabilizing all identities so that new relationships can be developed across every possible […]
2 min

Growing up Jewish in America

From his traditional Jewish parents, Kula learned that throughout any practice and ritual in any religious system or any theory about living, there must be people who can produce food. […]
2 min

Growing up in New York City

Growing up in a traditional Jewish home and attending Columbia University, Kula cites the diversity of New York City in terms of people, ideas, food, and music, as an experience […]
1 min

Re: What do you believe?

No one is totally true, nor are they totally false. Transcript:A personal philosophy? I don’t know. I don’t think I have any grand philosophical philosophy. I guess it would be […]
4 min

Re: How do you contribute?

Toward evidence-based spirituality. Transcript: I think it’s . . . I use the ecological model in understanding how wisdom traditions ought to work in the world today. And the ecological […]
11 min

Re: What do you do?

Re-imagining Judaism. Transcript: Oh gosh. Well I’m sort of a futurist about religion and Judaism in the world. And I think about how to . . . I mean I […]
9 min