A few months ago, I was invited to be part of a growing movement, as it were. It meant claiming a part of my identity that I had kept under wraps for far too long and honoring aspects of myself that felt grandiose, over the top…too much. Holy Rascal is what it is named and by definition it is “One who does justly, acts kindly and walks humbly with their God” I was introduced to the concept by my long time friend Rabbi Rami Shapiro. I had met Rami in the early 1990’s when I was living in South Florida. It was one of those serendipitous experiences, or perhaps ‘beshert’ which is Yiddish for ‘meant to be’. I had been in a local book store, perusing the psychology and self help section, when a book literally jumped off the shelf into my waiting hands. I looked at it and saw that it was a 12 step recovery book geared to those of the Jewish faith…something like This Too Is The Path; since often the languaging of the sobriety community has a Christian feel to it. I turned it over and saw that the author was a rabbi whose congregation was nearby. Beth Or was located in Kendall, Florida which is a suburb of Miami. That Friday, we attended a Shabbos service and I was mesmerized by the stories he told and one of my first impressions was that he missed his calling as a stand-up comedian. For the next two years, most of my Friday nights were spent in that sanctuary and I felt a sense of homecoming, since I had become disillusioned with the aspects of Judaism as presented by the most recent rabbi in the synagogue of my childhood, that had felt archaic and not only sexist, but misogynistic. At Temple Beth Or, I felt like an equal member, valued as the unique individual that I was, regardless of my ‘plumbing’.
Fast forward and I left South Florida following the whirlwind that was Hurricane Andrew (we lived in Homestead) in 1992. I kept up with Rami’s activities via his writings and was delighted with the ways that his work took on a more interfaith flavor, while maintaining the soup stock that was Judaism. The same is true for this nice Jewish girl who became an interfaith minister, via The New Seminary in 1999. Rami proudly claims the title of Holy Rascal and the site has featured notables such as Rabbi Zalman Schacter Shalomi (who is Rami’s mentor), Joan Borysenko, Matthew Fox, Sister Jose Hobday, Andrew Harvey and John Cleese. I am honored to be in such esteemed company.
One of the attributes of Holy Rascality is humor. I find it easy to laugh at the absurdities of life and see it as a healing balm. On June 18th, I will be presenting a webinar and will be speaking on the topic How To Have A Ridiculously Amazing Life. Tune in and join us and if you feel so moved, discover what it would mean to you to claim the not so super secret identity as your own.