Spirituality & Faith


Hanukkah's Universal Teachings

From State of Belief radio: “The holiday celebrations are officially underway. Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, began Tuesday and will continue until December 24. Irwin Kula visits the show once again to discuss the origins and significance of the religious holiday and how it is celebrated. He shares his message for this Hanukkah season, and it is one of hope…” Listen to my appearance on State of Belief radio here....

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Burn Brighter, Be Stronger

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: The festival of Hanukkah is a vivid reminder that there’s more to life than meets the eye. I came upon an idea, inspired by the candle-lighting ritual of Hanukkah, that can help us think about and even realize the miracles we want in our lives. Watch my video below for more insight and discussion.     For more insights on the festival of lights, see Hanukkah Not “Jewish Christmas,” Or Is It? Odyssey Networks tells the stories of faith in action changing the world......

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How the Light of Hanukkah Was Seen in a Post-Katrina New Orleans

The holiday of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, reminds people of all faiths that, in the face of darkness and despair, you can still have light and hope. “The lights of Hanukkah come to remind us of one of the important truths of life – That no matter how dark things are, there is always hope. That even if we are down to our last drop of oil, our last ounce of energy, there is always possibility. If we are willing to act, to light that last candle, to take that one......

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Hanukkah Not 'Jewish Christmas,' Or Is It?

Hanukkah 2014 begins tonight, December 15, at sundown. That date corresponds to the 25th of the Hebrew month of Kislev, for you Jewish calendar buffs. And why does the holiday begin at Sundown, not midnight, as all days on the secular calendar? Because according to Jewish tradition, every day begins at sundown. Think of this as both a tribute to how time is counted in the Genesis creation story – “And it was evening and it was morning…” – and also as a way to let people know that even though most......

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Torture, or Enhanced Interrogation?

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series:?On December 9, 2014, the U.S. Senate released its report on the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” against detainees suspected of being Al Qaeda fighters during the George W. Bush administration. I believe that whether you call it “torture” or “enhanced interrogation” is the best indicator of how you feel about this issue, and how in touch you are with your own conscience. Watch my video below for more reaction and discussion. Odyssey Networks tells the stories of faith in action changing the world......

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Science Is Not the Opposite of Religion

John Lennon had it right when he sang, “Imagine no religion.” Let me explain. According to a recent study from the Public Religion Research Institute, 41% of Americans either completely disagree (27%) or mostly disagree (14%) with this statement: “Evolution is the best explanation for the origins of human life on Earth.” Surprised? Disturbed? I’m not surprised, but I am disturbed – though perhaps for reasons you might not expect. I’m not surprised because in this country we remain a nation of believers, and most of those believers are regularly subjected to......

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Just Opened: New Theatre's 'Gospel According to Jerry'

From The Miami Herald review: “New Theatre’s The Gospel According to Jerry is a two-hander, that theatrical form in which a disparate pair talks, clashes and bonds over the course of the play. This one has two authors as well: playwright-screenwriter Richard Krevolin and Rabbi Irwin Kula. The tender-hearted piece at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center certainly follows the two-hander form, but the production isn’t formulaic — it’s lovely. Director Stephen Neal and his cast, John Manzelli as a rabbi named Jerry and Christina Alexander as a gospel singer/choir director named......

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Are You an FOP: Fan of the Pope?

Pope Francis has engaged and inspired millions of non-Catholics, former Catholics and alienated Catholics since assuming his position as leader of the Roman Catholic Church. He’s both a spiritual master and global celebrity; that means the world is now filled with “FOP”s – Fans Of the Pope. However, some of them may be reconsidering their views now, though I’m not sure that that’s fair. Pope Francis has spoken out about the idea that choosing to die when confronted by a terminal illness is “a sin against God”, and that supporting terminal cancer......

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What Age-Old Religions Gain from New Ideas

In this talk I gave at BIF10 in September, I focused on religion from the most practical and (as it turns out) innovative perspective: How well do our religions serve our deepest human needs? What if religions were actually measured by their ability to impact our capacity for gratitude, hope, empathy and our sense of belonging? What if we unbundled the wisdom and practices from established religions (and their metaphysics, theologies, tribes and communities) and measured them for their ability to help us flourish? Watch the video below, as I discuss these......

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Video: Removing Religious Holidays from the School Calendar

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: This week, the Board of Education in Montgomery County, Maryland voted 7 to 1 to eliminate references to all religious holidays in their published calendar for 2015-2016. They acted in response to a request from the community’s Muslim leaders that the Muslim holy day of Eid al-Adha be added alongside holidays such as Christmas, Easter, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hoshanah. The move is bad policy and wrong thinking – We don’t make room for each other best when we banish parts of who we......

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