Who have been the important role models in your life? How have they shaped you?
My parents who sacrificed everything for my education and upbringing. My children whose character, achievements, and positive outlook about the future give me hope (versus the despair of people my age and older). My wife who is the definition of selflessness, always putting others before herself. Generous people regardless of income level have shaped me. They have taught me that it’s never a matter of what we have but how much we give that matters most.
could spend a day with one Biblical figure, who would it be and what would you
hope to explore with him/her?
enjoy spending the day with Job. I would like to hear how he found the strength to meet
adversity, as well as, the courage to tell his friends they were wrong when they tried
to explain his afflictions as "tests," and, even punishments from God.
your forward to Margaret B. Ingraham’s book—This Holy Alphabet: Lyric Poems
Adapted from Psalm 119—you posit that “God created the world by means of the
twenty-two Hebrew letters.” What would you like non-Jews to understand about
this beautifully evocative idea?
like readers of "This Holy Alphabet" to understand that creation is
ever-evolving, unfolding, and brimming with infinite possibilities. The
early rabbis teach that there are 70 faces to every letter in the 79,847 words
in the first Five Books of Moses alone!
April of 2012 you were named by Newsweek as one of America’s 50 most
influential rabbis. What opportunities does your influence provide, and how do
you remain grounded?
profession, the quality and caliber of colleagues can inspire new initiatives
and breakthrough thinking. The rabbinate is already a small fraternity/sorority; leadership at the top is even closer. How do I remain grounded? I may have
been named among the 50 most influential rabbis in America, but in my house, I'm
not even in the top 50! Just ask my wife.
As senior rabbi of Tennessee’s largest synagogue, you have given many
interviews over the years. What is the question you’ve been waiting for but
have never been asked?
Question I've yet
to be asked leading Tennessee's largest synagogue? "How will the
proud and historic Memphis Jewish community survive without a major infusion of