Idol Chatter

In the beginning, there was TLC’s Shalom in the Home, starring well-known rabbi Shmuley Boteach. Now, prepare for television to bring another rabbi into your home–in this case, Rabbi Irwin Kula, whose new national public television special, “The Hidden Wisdom of Our Yearnings with Irwin Kula,” represents an attempt to help people use Jewish wisdom to “cope, find purpose, and discover growth,” as a press release claims.

Rabbi Kula is president of CLAL – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, a leadership training institute, think tank, and resource center, and is a much sought-after speaker and commentator on public culture and religion in the public square. The show is based on Rabbi Kula’s new book, Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life,” and will be available in almost every major city nationwide.

If Rabbi Kula’s name sounds familiar, it might be your active “Today” show memory kicking in: He was recently featured in an interview by Matt Lauer about the concept of forgiveness in the wake of October’s shootings at an Amish schoolhouse. Unlike Rabbi Boteach, Rabbi Kula does not seem to be courting celebrity endorsement, although his book has received accolades from such leading authors as Harold Kushner, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, and Mitch Albom, and Rabbi Kula himself was named by both Fast Company magazine and PBS’ Religion and Ethics Newsweekly as one of the new leaders shaping the American spiritual landscape.

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