Inspiring People


The Transformation of Russell Brand

Do you believe people can change? What does it take to change and what would convince you someone has changed? Remember Russell Brand, the controversial, formerly drug and sex-addicted, adolescent funny man who became a movie star with roles in mindless hit comedies and was married for a bit to Katy Perry? In the video below, a collection of interview highlights, Brand shares a message of spiritual revolution and idealism. Is it possible he has evolved into an enlightening force? Watch as he describes how celebrity, our mainstream media, and corrupt political,......

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Inside the Lives of Single Mom Rabbis

I just watched a documentary – called All of the Above: Single, Clergy, Mother – that touched my heart, mind, and spirit. In the movie, three rabbis and a cantor, each raising kids, describe with remarkable vulnerability their candid experiences pursuing the choice of single motherhood. All of the subjects of the film are successful and prominent in their communities and of course, for any woman, the decision to become a single mother is complicated. Their four narratives vary in poignant ways, but in eloquently revealing personal physical, emotional, and financial details......

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How We Choose Our Heroes

Some say that we live in an age without heroes. Do you think that is true? Well, even if it is – even if we no longer have people who walk among us who seem larger than life – we surely have not lost the ability to admire others. The question is whom do we admire, and why them? Perhaps it was the video below about a former skinhead, or perhaps it was a recent conversation with my 12 year-old daughter, but the question of whom we admire and why we do......

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Gratitude for a Life Well Lived

Yesterday, I buried a friend and teacher of many years. She was older, but hardly “old,” at least not from my perspective. Sadly, she had an unusually limited amount of time in which to deal with her impending death. In fact, the duration from diagnosis to demise was exactly five weeks. In those weeks, however, she continued her role as a brave teacher, living life well and wisely. From the very beginning of the 35-day process, her dying was marked by two repeated sentiments. The first was that it really was a......

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How the Big Bang Brought Big Joy

Imagine how you would feel if years of curiosity, perseverance, creativity, love of learning, and faith were rewarded with confirmation of everything you believed! Well, last week, a team of scientists announced that the BICEP2 telescope at the South Pole detected gravitational waves that could be traced to a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang, providing evidence to a theory about the universe’s expansion called Inflation. Stay with me now, as I am a lot like you. While I got an A+ in Astronomy for Poets at Columbia University......

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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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