Inspiring People


In Praise of 'Into The Woods' Composer Stephen Sondheim

Earlier this year, Frank Rich wrote an insightful and heartfelt piece in New York Magazine on the extraordinary American composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. Since his Broadway debut at age 27, as the lyricist for Leonard Bernstein’s score to West Side Story (that’s a debut!), Sondheim has redefined musical theatre over a course of six decades, writing the groundbreaking scores for Company, A Little Night Music, Follies, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park With George and Into the Woods – works that have earned him every prize an American artist can win.......

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Happy Birthday Jesus and Isaac Newton

The title may appear glib or snarky to some, but that is not how it is intended.? It simply reflects the desire to see us all open our hearts and minds not only to an ever wider understanding of wisdom, but also to seeing the deep inter-relatedness of various wisdom systems and teachers. According to tradition, both Jesus and Isaac Newton were born on December 25th, something I find quite interesting and even inspiring.? For me, each are world-transforming teachers who shaped the world for the better, no matter what faith we......

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Can you believe Keith Richards turns 70 this coming Wednesday? I saw the Stones for the first time 40 years ago and have tried to see them at least once every time they have toured since. We all feel a certain way about the music that first made us feel a certain way about ourselves and the Stones were the first to make us feel sympathy for the devil. In honor of Keith’s 70th, here is some wisdom in his own words.   “For many years I slept, on average, twice a......

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In Memory of Nelson Mandela

My post today has very few words.? Nelson Mandela died yesterday at 95.? Here are two beautiful and wise clips about him. The first video is from CNN and is a retrospective by Christine Amanpour The second, also from CNN, is Mandela in his own words. Last night, understandably, the media was filled with words remembering and honoring a human being the likes of who appears not once in a lifetime but once every few lifetimes. Some figures genuinely change history because of how evolved, pragmatic, and enlightened they are. Mandela was......

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Video: Reflections on JFK and Flawed Heroes

From Odyssey Network’s Faith on the Record series: “On the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Rabbi Brad Hirschfield reflects on the concept of the “flawed hero” in the Bible and how the extreme scrutiny of politicians in America today makes no allowance for flaws.??? Rabbi Hirschfield asks if we can embrace the flawed heroes around us and strive to be heroic ourselves, in spite our our own flaws.” Odyssey Networks tells the stories of faith in action changing the world for the better.? Their stories explore a......

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Honoring Our Veterans Isn't Just One Day

Today is Veterans Day and whatever our politics or opinions of war, we need to respect, honor and most critically, care about our veterans. In reflecting upon the importance of Veterans Day, I came across some surprising and even shocking facts on the impact of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: More than 6,600 dead. 2.5 million men and women have been deployed in these two wars – over 400,000 have done more than three deployments. If you do not know anyone who has served it is because we have made an......

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Video: Innovating Compassion. A Discussion with Irwin Kula, Angela Maiers and James Doty, M.D.

So a neurosurgeon, a visionary educator and a rabbi walk into a bar…? I met Dr. James Doty and Angela Maiers a few weeks back at BIF9, a remarkable gathering of over 400 innovators from across fields – science, technology, business, health, music, education, design, and social justice. Thirty-two people were invited to tell their innovation stories, each of which enchanted and elevated heart, mind and spirit. The first three stories – mine, Angela’s, and James’ were just released and there has been such buzz around them that we decided it would......

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What Makes a Teacher Great - Remembering Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

When nearly one million people attend a teacher’s funeral, as happened this week in Jerusalem, one can’t help but pay attention. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, was a cultural, spiritual, intellectual and even political phenomenon. ?A former chief rabbi of Israel, the?spiritual leader of the Sephardic ultra-Orthodox Shas party, and a teacher revered across many ethnic and religious borders, he?was?buried this week?in the largest funeral in Israel’s history. ?His enormous popularity can teach us so much about what it means to be a great teacher and how we can find the great teachers we......

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10 Pieces of Wisdom from Desmond Tutu on his Birthday

Today – October 7 – is Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s 82nd birthday.? I have the honor of serving on the Board of The Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation (DTPF)? whose mission is to help provide tools to create peace within, among and between people. Peace-making or what I call Peace-ing is an ongoing daily practice of attending to our own self and our ever widening webs of relationships that are our families, our communities and the diverse people of the world. Meeting Archbishop Tutu, hearing him speak and teach is an......

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We Are All Tony Soprano

Hearing the news of James Gandolfini’s sudden and untimely death unnerved both me and millions of other people who never met the man.? What’s up with that?? Why do we care so much?? The answer, at least for most of us, comes down to two words: Tony Soprano. Mourning a mobster – a man whose life was predicated on intimidation, extortion and murder – may seem odd. Odder still, when the mobster in question is a fictional character. ?But that’s what all those so effected by the actor’s death are doing. Before......

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