Sunday, June 17, 2007

Welcome, Arnie

San Jose Mercury News :
There has been a growing chasm between Conservative Judaism's conservative and liberal wings, said J.J. Goldberg, editor of the national Jewish newspaper, The Forward.

'The Conservative movement - much of the rabbinate and a considerable body of key laity - is very hungry for a leader who can articulate a vision and unite people around it,' Goldberg told the Mercury News. '[Arnold] Eisen is one of the very few people I (have) seen on the landscape who might succeed.'

For Eisen, heading to the seminary is a homecoming of sorts. He went there in 1971 for his college magazine to interview his personal hero: Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. The budding religious scholar challenged the theologian and civil rights leader 'to convince me that religion matters.'

They talked for two hours.

'What he did was tell me as a young American Jew - which is exactly what I tell young American Jews today - if you find your religion to be irrelevant, go change it.'

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