Where is the intersection between Jewish spiritual practice and social action? Is there a connection between serving God and serving humanity?
Global Torah is a five-part podcast series exploring the intersections of Jewish history, values and tradition with the practice and pursuit of global citizenship, social justice and international development.
Hosted by Shani Rosenbaum.
Rabbi Ruth Gan Kagan, Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, Nava Tehila
Rabbi Ruth Gan Kagan was born in Jerusalem. She grew up in a Zionist Orthodox family and is a descendant of a long line of Lithuanian rabbis on her mother’s side. She studied law at Hebrew University but decided not to work in the field – instead she immersed herself in Torah studies at the Hartman and Pardes Institutes in Jerusalem. Always a spiritual seeker, Ruth became involved in interfaith activities that led her to representing Judaism at various international forums as well as being amongst the first Israelis to travel and study in India and Nepal.
In the late 80s she married Dr. Michael Kagan, author of the Holistic Haggadah, and together they were part of the first wave of New Age activists in Israel. Ruth and Michael’s main interest became the renewal of Judaism and together they taught classes and workshops in Israel and around the world. In 2003 Ruth received semikha (rabbinic ordination) from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi through the Aleph Rabbinical Seminary, of which she is now a member of the faculty. In 2006 she published, together with Rabbi Zalman, Jewish Renewal – Integrating Heart and World (Kirvat Elohim, Yediot Achronot), the first book in Hebrew describing the principles and practice of Jewish Renewal for Israeli readership.
Rabbi Ruth teaches classes and workshops in Jewish spirituality in Israel and around the world. She is the founder of congregation Nava Tehila in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Micha Odenheimer, Tevel b’Tzedeck
Rabbi Micha was born in Berkeley, California. He received his B.A. from Yale University, Cum Laude, in 1980. In 1984, Micha received his semikha (rabbinic ordination) and was a student and close friend of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. In 1988 Micha immigrated to Israel and ever since has been working in social activism in Israeli society, and has lectured and written extensively on Judaism and social justice. A prolific journalist, Rabbi Micha has reported on poverty, globalization and human rights from around the world, and written for the Washington Post, The Guardian, The London Times, The Jerusalem Report and Ha’aretz. In 1998, the Joint Distribution Committee granted Micha the Boris Smolar Prize, based on his work covering Ethiopian Jewry. Micha also founded the Israeli Association for Ethiopian Jewry, which was, and remains to this day, one of the most instrumental and valued organizations dealing with the absorption of Ethiopian immigration to Israel. Micha is the founder and director of Tevel B’tzedek, an Israeli NGO created in 2007 and focused on Tikun Olam (“healing the world”) in communities in Burudni and Nepal through Jewish and Israeli leadership and innovation. Rabbi Micha received the 2011 Klegg Prize from Hebrew University.