With the terrifying news coming today from the U.S. Supreme Court, we all need to find a model of spiritual courage.
Earlier this week I had the pleasure of joining in a panel discussion about one of my Jewish heroes and one of my grandfather’s favourite teachers, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. This year’s Toronto Jewish Film Festival https://tjff.com spotlights a new documentary by Martin Doblmier. Doblmier has directed a series of documentaries on leading religious figures of the last century. He has generously given permission for me to share a link to “Spiritual Audacity: The Abraham Joshua Heschel Story” with you after this weekend when the festival wraps up. Until then, thanks to the TJFF Program Director, Stuart Hands, son of Holy Blossom’s own Dr. Brian and Cynthia Hands, you may enjoy the recording of the panel discussion with Doblmier, Rabbi Frydman-Kohl, and me. The conversation is moderated by Dr. Greg Beiles, Head of the Toronto Heschel School. https://vimeo.com/493404963/1898f871f9
Here is my favourite image from the documentary.
You can see then Assistant Professor, A.J. Heschel (far right), on the steps of Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati Ohio. Among his students are my grandfather, Ernst Lorge z”l (far left) and Holy Blossom’s own, W. Gunter Plaut z”l (back row, third from the right). I look at these faces, think of all they had already endured in the early 1940s when the photograph was taken, and I take courage.
I hope to see you this Shabbat over wine and cheese, as we thank Rabbi Tepper for his time as our Adjunct Rabbi or over a cup of coffee at Holy Grounds Café, as we welcome our new Associate Rabbi, Samuel Kaye, and our new Assistant Rabbi, Eliza McCarroll.
I will soon be on my way for three and a half weeks of study at the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. I’ll be sending updates from there from time to time. I am grateful to the congregational leadership, supporters, and colleagues, who are enabling me to make this trip. In Israel, I will be on the lookout for today’s leading Jewish thinkers and models of spiritual courage. I will bring back whatever I can to share with you over the months ahead.
Shabbat Shalom. I wish you and those you love a joyful and healthy summer.