Rabbi Brad Hirschfield used to be kind of scary. As a young man, he joined a militant Jewish group that wanted to take back the holy land, even at the cost of Palestinian children. After going back to academia and searching his soul, Hirschfield realized that "finding faith without fanaticism" was possible.You Don't Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right is the name of his new book about that journey, which he'll discuss at 7:30 tonight in the social hall of the Jewish Community Campus (5801 West 115th Street in Overland Park)."We live in an incredibly polarized and deeply divided culture in this country, whether it's politics, religion or even our personal relationships," Hirschfield says from his office in New York City. People commit themselves so deeply to what they believe, he adds, that "their commitments make them crazy." Hence, liberals and conservatives are constantly at each other's throats; books proclaiming that either God is perfect or religion is toxic shoot to the tops of best-seller lists; and little fights between friends or lovers turn into relationship-ending disasters."The purpose of this book is not to suggest that people have to put up with everything," Hirschfield concedes. "But everyone can stretch." Example: On a recent trip to Egypt, he mingled with powerful Islamic leaders. "Some of the most beautiful moments were with some of the people whose ideas scare me the most," he says. For more information about Hirschfield's talk, call 913-327-8145.
Thu., Jan. 17, 2008