Welcome to the THIRD season of Dawn of an Era of Well-Being. This season we are dedicating our focus to the world’s religions, and discovering how religion and spirituality can help bring us together in a more harmonious condition.
In today’s episode we will be talking about Judaism with the much esteemed Rabbi Aaron Raskin.
Judaism is one of the world’s most ancient monotheistic religions, and it is the parent tradition to the Abrahamic faiths, which include Christianity and Islam. The primary text of the Judaic faith is the Torah, which is specifically the original five books of Moses, describing the origin of the Jewish people and the laws that instruct them in ethical conduct and outline terms of their covenant with G-d. The Torah is the initial portion of a larger set of books known as the Tanakh, which is roughly analogous to the Old Testament of Christianity.
Judaism is a distinctive tradition in that it also interweaves the concepts of an ethnic group—the Hebrews or Israelites—and a political or national entity, that being the nation of Israel— which could be perceived as the Jewish people at large—historically living in diaspora—as well as the nation state of Israel centered around the sacred site of Jerusalem (or Zion). Thus Jewish identity can run along a variety of religious and secular vectors.
The topic of the Jewish spirituality is complex, multi-faceted, and has been subject to millennia of scholarly commentary. So we are very fortunate to have Rabbi Raskin joining us to share some of his knowledge on this.
Rabbi Aaron L. Raskin is a dynamic and charismatic leader who hails from a long line of prominent rabbis. His grandfather, Rabbi Jacob J. Hecht, served as official translator to the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
Rabbi Raskin came to Brooklyn Heights in September of 1988 where he co-founded the Congregation B’nai Avraham and he continues to serve as its spiritual leader. Serving a community at the crossroads of so many other diverging communities in the heart of New York City has made Raskin particularly attuned to the exigencies—and opportunities— of answering questions posed across racial, religious, and political divides. He has been consulted as reference by sources religious and secular alike (The New York Daily News; the Oprah Winfrey Network; National Geographic Magazine) and retains a unique position as a respected Jewish leader sensitive to 21st-century secular issues.
He is also author of By Divine Design: The Kabbalah of Large, Small, and Missing Letters in the Parshah (2010); Letters of Light: A Mystical Journey through The Hebrew Alphabet (2003); and The Rabbi & The CEO: The 10 Commandments for 21st Century Leaders (2008, co-authored with Thomas Zweifel, PhD.).