Our special guest today is Irwin Kula, the current President of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL). Rabbi Kula received his B.A. in Philosophy from Columbia University, and was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTSA) in NY. Prior to assuming his position at CLAL, Rabbi Kula headed congregations in St. Louis, New York, and Jerusalem and co–founded the Aitz Hayim Center for Jewish Living in Chicago. A sought-after public speaker and acclaimed author, Rabbi Kula has lead and participated in many high-profile interfaith and philanthropic initiatives around the world, for which he was given the 2008 Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom Award.
This week's Torah Portion- Parashat Beha'alotcha (Numbers 8:1-12:15)- begins with the lighting of the menorah, then goes on to describe the cleansing of the Levites and the first celebration of Passover in the desert. The Torah subsequently describes a series of bitter complaints made by the people of Israel about life in the desert and the portion concludes with Moses' sister Miriam speaking slander about Moses to their brother Aaron and getting punished for it with a terrible skin disease.