An internationally sought-after speaker, Rabbi Irwin Kula has inspired millions worldwide by using Jewish wisdom to speak to all aspects of modern life and relationships. An engaged and thoughtful trader in the global marketplace of ideas, he led a Passover Seder in Bhutan; consulted with government officials in Rwanda; helped build cultural and interfaith bridges in Qatar; and met with leaders as diverse as the Dalai Lama and Queen Noor to discuss compassionate leadership. Across the U.S., he works constantly and tirelessly with religious as well business and community leaders, corporate and family foundations, and religious and philanthropic institutions to promote leadership development and institutional change.
For all this and more, Rabbi Kula received the 2008 Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom Award for his work "toward equality, liberty and a truly inter-religious community." Fast Company magazine and Religion and Ethics Newsweekly (PBS) both named him one of the leaders shaping the American spiritual landscape, and he was listed three years in a row in Newsweek as one of the Top 10 of the "Top 50 Rabbis in America."
Across the media, Rabbi Kula is in constant demand for the distinctive perspective he offers on matters both spiritual and secular matters. He's appeared regularly on NBC's Today Show, was a repeat guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show and co-hosted the weekly radio show, Hirschfield and Kula. In addition, he's appeared on The O'Reilly Factor (Fox), Frontline (PBS), PoliticsDaily.com, among many others, and blogs for "The Huffington Post" and Newsweek/WashingtonPost.com's "On Faith."
Rabbi Kula has written several influential texts on religion and spirituality. His most recent book, Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life (2006), won a "Books for a Better Life" award and was named one of the "Best Spiritual Books of 2006" by Spirituality & Health. He also wrote and was featured in Time for a New God (2004), an acclaimed documentary in which he muses on religion as a "giant tool box" for personal and social transformation.
In 2003, Rabbi Kula hosted a 13-part public television special, "Simple Wisdom with Irwin Kula," that used Jewish wisdom to explore such life issues as relationships, money, work, and sex. He explored similar themes in another public television special, "The Hidden Wisdom of Our Yearnings." Rabbi Irwin Kula is the President of Clal -- The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership), a leadership-training institute, think tank and resource center in New York City. He received his B.A. in Philosophy from Columbia University, his B.H.L. from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTSA) in NY, and his M.A. in Rabbinics and Rabbinic Ordination from JTSA. An eighth-generation rabbi, he has headed congregations in St. Louis, MO; Queens, NY; and Jerusalem, Israel and co-founded the Aitz Hayim Center for Jewish Living in Chicago.