night our organization, This World: The Values Network, hosted a
fascinating discussion entitled, “Values to Heal America” featuring
Prof. Elie Wiesel, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. Mehmet Oz,
America’s doctor, and Mayor Cory Booker of Newark.
I just returned from Houston, Texas, where I gave three lectures. Place was hot as a tamale. When I returned I heard from several people that Tracy Morgan had mentioned something about me on 30 Rock on NBC. I had known something of it before since it seems to have been part of their promos.
Apparently, Tracy says, “I have to reconnect with my roots. I have to go see Rabbi Shmuley.” That’s cool. I always want people to reconnect with their roots. I agree with the Bible. A man is a tree of the field, rooted in his own soil, his own culture, his own traditions. But growing out in the world, enriching the environment with his own unique contribution. We shouldn’t be potatoes or turnips, wallowing only in our own earth. We have to be rooted by grow out, creating a truly multi-ethnic society. And Tracy, you’ve kept my laughing for so many years, It’d would be my pleasure to reconnect you with your roots.
Incidentally, I love 30 Rock. Intelligent, outrageous comedy that makes me laugh. And Tina Fey is a genius.
now we’ve all heard the criticisms of President Obama receiving the
Nobel Peace Prize just a little too early. But Judaism and Jewish
values offer a unique perspective on the controversy that others have
missed. Let me explain by first prefacing with my own grave
disappointment in the steady decline of a once mighty prize.
grew up in awe of the Nobel peace prize and its noble recipients. This
award was simply amazing, an acknowledgement on the part of our
civilization that peace is life’s highest end, fraternity humanity’s
greatest goal. I read books on the prize and its recipients. I gave my
kids quizzes on the winners and the year in which they received the
prize. I went so far as to establish at Oxford University an annual
lecture that could only be delivered by winners of the prize. Endowed
during the 1990’s by philanthropist Edmund Safra, the lecture was
delivered to capacity audiences by such luminaries as Elie Wiesel,
winner in 1986, Joseph Rotblat, winner in 1995, Shimon Peres &
Yitzhak Rabin, winners in 1994, and most significantly Mikhail
Gorbachev, winner in 1990.
continues to be gripped by Jon and Kate Gosselin whose marriage has now
gone belly up and whose TV show seems to be following suit. After TLC
informed Jon that he will no longer play a significant role in the
show, he informed TLC that he is pulling the plug on his children’s
participation. Many cried foul. Was this a form of perverse payback?
Was he pulling his kids from the show for the right reasons or was it a